We have investigated whether mycobiont identity and environmental conditions affect morphology and physiology of the chlorophyllous orchid: Cremastra variabilis. This species grows in a broad range of environmental conditions and associates with saprotrophic rhizoctonias including Tulasnellaceae and saprotrophic non-rhizoctonian fungi from the family Psathyrellaceae. We cultured the orchid from seeds under aseptic culture conditions and subsequently inoculated the individuals with either a Tulasnellaceae or a Psathyrellaceae isolate. We observed underground organ development of the inoculated C. variabilis plants and estimated their nutritional dependency on fungi using stable isotope abundance. Coralloid rhizome development was observed in all individuals inoculated with the Psathyrellaceae isolate, and 1–5 shoots per seedling grew from the tip of the coralloid rhizome. In contrast, individuals associated with the Tulasnellaceae isolate did not develop coralloid rhizomes, and only one shoot emerged per plantlet. In darkness, δ13C enrichment was significantly higher with both fungal isolates, whereas δ15N values were only significantly higher in plants associated with the Psathyrellaceae isolate. We conclude that C. variabilis changes its nutritional dependency on fungal symbionts depending on light availability and secondly that the identity of fungal symbiont influences the morphology of underground organs.

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Staff publications

Yagame, Takahiro, Figura, T., Tanaka, Eiji, Selosse, Marc-André, & Yukawa, Tomohisa. (2024). Mycobiont identity and light conditions affect belowground morphology and physiology of a mixotrophic orchid Cremastra variabilis (Orchidaceae). Mycorrhiza, 2024. doi:10.1007/s00572-024-01138-8

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