The rare Australian epiphytic orchid Sarcochilus weinthalii associates with a single species of Ceratobasidium
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Sarcochilus weinthalii is a rare, epiphytic orchid largely restricted to the dry rainforests of eastern Australia. Part of the conservation procedures for the orchid includes isolation and identification of the associated mycorrhizal fungus. In this study the mycorrhizal fungal partner of the species was determined through extraction and sequencing of DNA from both colonised orchid roots and pure fungal cultures grown out from orchid roots. A single species of Ceratobasidium predominated in the orchid suggesting that the orchid displays narrow fungal specificity. This mycorrhizal fungus can now be used in conservation procedures involving ex situ growth and the reintroduction of plants to the natural state.
KeywordsSarcochilus weinthalii Epiphytic orchids Ceratobasidium Mycorrhizal specificity
We thank the Queensland Environmental Protection Agency for a collection permit and Steve Petrovich for help with fieldwork. We are indebted to two anonymous reviewers for constructive comments on the manuscript.
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