Mycotrophic Plants

Well, that’s a posh title for a post isn’t it?  it is to make up for my ignorance.  Following a discussion with 1snowbird about Indian Pipe plants. I claimed that I didn’t know of any such plants in the UK.  Actually the statement was true, indeed I know very little of anything.

There are similar plants in Europe. The Bird’s Nest Orchid has no chlorophyll and uses a fungus within its roots to

Illustration by Dr Thome 1885 of Bird's Nest Orchid

Illustration by Dr Thome, 1885, of Bird’s Nest Orchid

break down other plant material for nutrition. It is a yellowish brown colour. I managed to find a nice illustration of one from Prof. Dr. Otto Wilhelm Thomé’s 1885 book; Flora von Deutschland, Österreich und der Schweiz. If you can read German, it can be found here. A similar species is Broomrape, but I suggest you google it by the Latin; Orobanche Minor.

Helleborine is another type of orchid that does have some chlorophyll, and has pink or white flowers. It supplements its diet by making use of fungi around its of early purple orchid

The only orchid I have seen in Credenhill Park Wood is the Early Purple Orchid, but I shall try to be more observant.


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