, Volume 16, Issue 5, pp 299–363 | Cite as

Phylogenetic distribution and evolution of mycorrhizas in land plants

  • B. Wang
  • Y.-L. QiuEmail author


A survey of 659 papers mostly published since 1987 was conducted to compile a checklist of mycorrhizal occurrence among 3,617 species (263 families) of land plants. A plant phylogeny was then used to map the mycorrhizal information to examine evolutionary patterns. Several findings from this survey enhance our understanding of the roles of mycorrhizas in the origin and subsequent diversification of land plants. First, 80 and 92% of surveyed land plant species and families are mycorrhizal. Second, arbuscular mycorrhiza (AM) is the predominant and ancestral type of mycorrhiza in land plants. Its occurrence in a vast majority of land plants and early-diverging lineages of liverworts suggests that the origin of AM probably coincided with the origin of land plants. Third, ectomycorrhiza (ECM) and its derived types independently evolved from AM many times through parallel evolution. Coevolution between plant and fungal partners in ECM and its derived types has probably contributed to diversification of both plant hosts and fungal symbionts. Fourth, mycoheterotrophy and loss of the mycorrhizal condition also evolved many times independently in land plants through parallel evolution.


Mycorrhizas Land plants Fungi Parallel evolution 



We would like to thank Rong-rong Xu for helping with figure preparation, Malini Jane Sridharan for critically reading the manuscript, and Jim Trappe and two reviewers for their insightful comments. This work was supported by an Early Career Award (DEB 0332298) and ATOL grants (DEB 0431239, DEB 0531689) from NSF to Y-L Qiu.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Ecology and Evolutionary BiologyThe University Herbarium, University of MichiganAnn ArborUSA

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