Mycorrhizal specificity, preference, and plasticity of six slipper orchids from South Western China.

Mycorrhiza 2010 Nov 9;20(8):559-68. Epub 2010 Mar 9.

Key Laboratory of Biodiversity and Biogeography, Kunming Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Kunming, 650204, China.

Mycorrhizal fungi of six endangered species, Paphiopedilum micranthum, Paphiopedilum armeniacum, Paphiopedilum dianthum, Cypripedium flavum, Cypripedium guttatum, and Cypripedium tibeticum, from two closely related genera in the Orchidaceae from Southwestern China, were characterized using the nuclear internal transcribed spacer (ITS) and part of the large subunit gene of mitochondrial rDNA (mtLSU) sequences. The most frequently detected fungi belonged to the Tulasnellaceae. These fungi were represented by 25 ITS sequence types and clustered into seven major clades in the phylogenetic analysis of 5.8S sequences. Species of Paphiopedilum and Cypripedium shared no fungal ITS sequence types in common, but their fungal taxa sometimes occurred in the same major clade of the 5.8S phylogenetic tree. Although it had several associated fungal ITS sequence types in a studied plot, each orchid species had in general only a single dominant type. The fungal sequence type spectra of different species of Paphiopedilum from similar habitats sometimes overlapped; however, the dominant sequence types differed among the species and so did the sequence-type spectra within Cypripedium. Orchids of P. micranthum and P. armeniacum transplanted from the field and grown in two greenhouses had a greater number of mycorrhizal associations than those sampled directly from the field. Root specimens from P. micranthum taken from the greenhouses were preferably associated with mycobionts of the Tulasnella calospora complex, while those from the field had mycorrhizal associations of other tulasnelloid taxa. Such plasticity in mycorrhizal associations makes ex situ conservation or even propagation by means of mycorrhization of axenically grown seedlings possible.

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November 2010
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