Do symbiotic relationships actually exist?

Discussion in 'Plants: Science and Cultivation' started by Margot, Mar 30, 2021.

  1. Margot

    Margot Generous Contributor

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    Not long ago I read an article that suggested that true symbiosis does not exist . . . that what we have thought to be mutually beneficial relationships between plants are actually mycorrhizal. I can't remember now whether I read it on the Forums or somewhere else and hoping that someone can give me a lead. I can't find anything so far on the web.
     
  2. togata57

    togata57 Contributor 10 Years

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    Both mycorrhizal and beneficial.

    Although they can spend part of their life cycle as free-living organisms, mycorrhizal fungi always associate with the roots of higher plants, indeed over 90% of plant species, including forest trees, wild grasses and many crops. Both partners benefit from the relationship: mycorrhizal fungi improve the nutrient status of their host plants, influencing mineral nutrition, water absorption, growth and disease resistance, whereas in exchange, the host plant is necessary for fungal growth and reproduction.

    Above excerpted from:
    Mechanisms underlying beneficial plant–fungus interactions in mycorrhizal symbiosis | Nature Communications
    ..........................................................................

    Insight into mycorrhizal relationships has been provided by Forum members, to wit and for example, our own Tom Hulse:
    Below excerpted from his post #7 on thread
    New to jade plants (and forums!)
    Discussion in 'Cacti and Succulents' started by cpainter30, Sep 24, 2020.

    Did you know that roots, by themselves, usually can't grow small and fine enough to take up the nutrients they need? They use fungus at the smallest level to grab those nutrients and make them available in what are called mycorrhizal associations with different kinds fungus.

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    and our own Acerholic:
    Transplanting maples in Autumn/ Spring
    Discussion in 'Maples' started by Acerholic, Oct 10, 2020.
    Post#4:

    8. Additives, yes I use an additive, it's Mycorrhizal to aid root growth. This is dusted over the root ball before potting up.

    Many references to this subject can be Forum-searched. Perhaps some of our knowledgeable members (Frog...?) may provide further insight and information.
     
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2021
    Acerholic and Margot like this.
  3. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Paragon of Plants UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    I'm not sure I understand the question. Is it: do beneficial direct plant-to-plant relationships exist? Or are they always in association with a fungal intermediary?

    Mutualism (where both organisms benefit) is not common in plant-plant, but here's an example: Mutualism between co-occurring plant species in South Africa's Mediterranean climate heathland is mediated by birds - PubMed . Apparently there are other examples in dune environments, e.g., (PDF) Plant–Plant Interactions in Coastal Dunes (under the 13.2 Facilitation discussion)

    Commensalism (where one benefits and the other isn't negatively affected) is far more common.
     

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