Skip to page content
USDA Forest Service

Research & Development Treesearch

Treesearch Home
About Treesearch
Contact Us
Research & Development
Forest Products Lab
International Institute of Tropical Forestry
Pacific Northwest
Pacific Southwest
Rocky Mountain
Southern Research Station
Help - We Participate  Government Made Easy

Global Forest Information Service

US Forest Service
P.O. Box 96090
Washington, D.C.

(202) 205-8333

You are here: Home / Search / Publication Information
Bookmark and Share

Publication Information

View PDF (1.9 MB)

Title: Mycorrhizal specificity in the fully mycoheterotrophic Hexalectris Raf. (Orchidaceae: Epidendroideae)

Author: Kennedy, Aaron H.; Taylor, D. Lee; Watson, Linda E.;

Date: 2011

Source: Molecular Ecology. 20: 1303-1316

Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)

Description: Mycoheterotrophic species have abandoned an autotrophic lifestyle and obtain carbon exclusively from mycorrhizal fungi. Although these species have evolved independently in many plant families, such events have occurred most often in the Orchidaceae, resulting in the highest concentration of these species in the tracheophytes. Studies of mycoheterotrophic species' mycobionts have generally revealed extreme levels of mycorrhizal specialization, suggesting that this system is ideal for studying the evolution of mycorrhizal associations. However, these studies have often investigated single or few, often unrelated, species without consideration of their phylogenetic relationships. Herein, we present the first investigation of the mycorrhizal associates of all species of a well-characterized orchid genus comprised exclusively of mycoheterotrophic species. With the employment of molecular phylogenetic methods, we identify the fungal associates of each of nine Hexalectris species from 134 individuals and 42 populations. We report that Hexalectris warnockii associates exclusively with members of the Thelephoraceae, H. brevicaulis and H. grandiflora associate with members of the Russulaceae and Sebacinaceae subgroup A, while each member of the H. spicata species complex associates primarily with unique sets of Sebacinaceae subgroup A clades. These results are consistent with other studies of mycorrhizal specificity within mycoheterotrophic plants in that they suggest strong selection within divergent lineages for unique associations with narrow clades of mycorrhizal fungi. Our results also suggest that mycorrhizal associations are a rapidly evolving characteristic in the H. spicata complex.

Keywords: host parasite interactions, mycoheterotrophy, mycorrhizal specificity, orchid mycorrhizae, Russulaceae, Sebacinaceae

Publication Notes:

  • We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
  • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.



Kennedy, Aaron H.; Taylor, D. Lee; Watson, Linda E. 2011. Mycorrhizal specificity in the fully mycoheterotrophic Hexalectris Raf. (Orchidaceae: Epidendroideae). Molecular Ecology. 20: 1303-1316.


 [ Get Acrobat ]  Get the latest version of the Adobe Acrobat reader or Acrobat Reader for Windows with Search and Accessibility

USDA logo which links to the department's national site. Forest Service logo which links to the agency's national site.