Original Paper


, Volume 21, Issue 4, pp 297-308

First online:

Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.

Host preferences and differential contributions of deciduous tree species shape mycorrhizal species richness in a mixed Central European forest

  • Christa LangAffiliated withForstbotanik und Baumphysiologie, Büsgen-Institut
  • , Jasmin SevenAffiliated withForstbotanik und Baumphysiologie, Büsgen-Institut
  • , Andrea PolleAffiliated withForstbotanik und Baumphysiologie, Büsgen-Institut Email author 


Mycorrhizal species richness and host ranges were investigated in mixed deciduous stands composed of Fagus sylvatica, Tilia spp., Carpinus betulus, Acer spp., and Fraxinus excelsior. Acer and Fraxinus were colonized by arbuscular mycorrhizas and contributed 5% to total stand mycorrhizal fungal species richness. Tilia hosted similar and Carpinus half the number of ectomycorrhizal (EM) fungal taxa compared with Fagus (75 putative taxa). The relative abundance of the host tree the EM fungal richness decreased in the order Fagus > Tilia >> Carpinus. After correction for similar sampling intensities, EM fungal species richness of Carpinus was still about 30–40% lower than that of Fagus and Tilia. About 10% of the mycorrhizal species were shared among the EM forming trees; 29% were associated with two host tree species and 61% with only one of the hosts. The latter group consisted mainly of rare EM fungal species colonizing about 20% of the root tips and included known specialists but also putative non-host associations such as conifer or shrub mycorrhizas. Our data indicate that EM fungal species richness was associated with tree identity and suggest that Fagus secures EM fungal diversity in an ecosystem since it shared more common EM fungi with Tilia and Carpinus than the latter two among each other.


Mycorrhizal community Deciduous stand Diversity Temperate ecosystem