There are 17 species of mycoheterotrophic plants in the Heath family. The are mainly found in the temperate forests of the northern hemisphere.


Classification: Eudicots, Ericales

Genera with mycoheterotrophic species: Monotropa, Hypopitys, Allotropa, Cheilotheca, Hemitomes, Monotropastrum, Monotropsis, Pityopus, Pleuricospora, Pterospora, Pyrola, Sarcodes

Diversity: Ericaceae comprise approximately 126 genera and 3,995 species. Eleven largely monospecific genera comprise fully mycoheterotrophic species. One genus, Pyrola, has a single mycoheterotrophic taxon.

Distribution: Cosmopolitan, but uncommon in many lowland tropical and desert regions. The mycoheterotrophic species are primarily temperate and when found in tropical regions are in montane habitats.

Fungi: Mycoheterotrophic Ericaceae grow on ectomycorrhizal fungi.

Fun fact: Hypopitys monotropa has the broadest continuous distribution range of any mycoheterotrophic plant (throughout the temperate forests of the northern hemisphere and into the Andes in South America).