Mystery World: Between Plants and Fungi


Myco-Heterotrophs are plants that have evolved down a unique path to gather their required nutrients. These plants actually use the mycelial network of certain fungi to steal their nutrients. These plants are very rare and are typically over-looked by the untrained eye. This particular specimen was located on a steep inclination in the foothills of the Smokey Mountains. Many of the species that are myco-heterotrophic are totally unrelated to one another leading to much speculation in the scientific community as to the origins of this type of adaptation. As you can see in the photograph the stems are translucent and the entire structure contains no pigments or chlorophyll at all. Little information is available pertaining to these species that I could uncover more scientific investigation is necessary. Uncovering the links that these species play in their ecosystems could allow genetic scientists to create plants that work together with specific fungi; leading to increased crop yields in a way that nature had initially created. These wonders of our mysterious world deserve their own Kingdom in the classification of nature.

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