Annals of Botany

Ghost orchid symbiotic seed germination

Successful orchid germination, embryo development and seedling establishment require the presence of mycorrhizal fungi. However, little is known about the orchid seed germination niche requirements in situ, especially regarding the role and host specificity of mycorrhizal fungi during germination and subsequent seedling development.

Florida ghost orchid (Dendrophylax lindenii) plant and flower.
Florida ghost orchid (Dendrophylax lindenii) plant and flower. (A) Plant, flower, and two pollinia. (B) Inflorescence with nodal bracts (b), flower (f) and flower bud (fb). (C) Inflorescence with multiple nodal bracts. Scale bar = 1 cm.

Hoang et al. describe the array of effects of the co-culture of mycorrhizal fungal strains, isolated from the roots of the endangered leafless Ghost orchid (Dendrophylax lindenii), on in vitro seed germination, seedling anatomy and developmental morphology. The fungal strain Dlin-394 was confirmed as a possible Ghost orchid germination mycobiont, which significantly promoted seed germination and seedling development. The study highlights the implications of these results for developing efficient procedures for Ghost orchid production and outplanting.

Reference

Hoang, N. H., Kane, M. E., Radcliffe, E. N., Zettler, L. W., & Richardson, L. W. (2016). Comparative seed germination and seedling development of the ghost orchid, Dendrophylax lindenii (Orchidaceae), and molecular identification of its mycorrhizal fungus from South Florida. Annals of Botany, 119(3), 379–393. https://doi.org/10.1093/aob/mcw220

About the author

Annals of Botany Office

The Annals of Botany Office is based at the University of Oxford.