, Volume 19, Issue 6, pp 357–363 | Cite as

Arbuscular, ecto-related, orchid mycorrhizas—three independent structural lineages towards mycoheterotrophy: implications for classification?

  • Stephan ImhofEmail author
Original Paper


The classification of mycorrhizas in seven equally ranked types glosses over differences and similarities and, in particular, does not acknowledge the structural diversity of arbuscular mycorrhizas. This article emphasizes the parallel continua of ecto-related mycorrhizas and arbuscular mycorrhizas, exemplified within Ericaceae and Gentianales, respectively, as well as the proprietary development of orchid mycorrhizas, all three of which have independently developed mycoheterotrophic plants. A hierarchical classification according to structural similarities is suggested.


Arbuscular mycorrhiza Ectomycorrhiza Orchid mycorrhiza Mycorrhizal structures Mycorrhizal classification Mycoheterotrophy 



Many thanks to Andrew Smith (Adelaide) and three anonymous referees for their valuable comments on the manuscript.


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© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Spezielle Botanik und Mykologie, Fachbereich BiologiePhilipps-UniversitätMarburgGermany

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