This site is dedicated to the wonderful but poorly-known world of mycoheterotrophs: plants that live on fungi.

Cephalanthera austiniae (Orchidaceae)

Cephalanthera austiniae (Orchidaceae) – CA, USA. Photo by Vincent Merckx

“Mycoheterotrophy” describes a plant’s ability to obtain carbon from fungi. Many plants are capable of mycoheterotrophy; some closely related others are not. Plants with the ability for mycoheterotrophy (“mycoheterotrophic plants”), particularly those that completely depend on fungal carbon during their entire life cycle, have attracted the attention of biologists for centuries. Studies on their unconventional mode of life have led to novel perspectives in ecology and evolution. Since the term mycoheterotrophy (as “myco-heterotrophy”) was coined by Jonathan Leake in 1994, scientific research on the topic has increased considerably.