Benefits and Opportunities with Mycorrhizal Fungi in Nursery Propagation and Production Systems.

by Fred T. Davies, Jr.

Mycorrhiza means "fungus root" and is a symbiotic association between specific fungi and the fine, young roots of higher plants. The majority of plants strictly speaking do not have roots, rather they form mycorrhizas. There are seven different types of mycorrhiza. The two most important are the endomycorrhiza and ectomycorrhiza. Endomycorrhizal plants are typically herbaceous plants, shrubs, many ornamental, fruit and nut trees, vegetables and agronomic crops, and turf grasses. More than 85% of higher plants form endomycorrhizal associations. The ectomycorrhizal fungi form associations with conifers such as fir and pines, and hardwoods such as birch, beech, eucalyptus, oak, willow, and magnolia. Ectomycorrhiza fungi colonize around 10% of higher plants. Some plants such as eucalyptus will form both endo- and ectomycorrhizal associations.

Combined Proceedings of International Plant Propagators' Society., Vol. 50, pp. 482-489, 2000.