In the singed shadows of Asian forests, new growth can be seen from the middle of the leaf litter like the shadows of long-dead flowers.
The leaves of the plant lack green pigment, leaving photosynthesis in favor of another source of nutrients in the forest area, one of the stolen fungi, many other plants consider friends – symbiotic mycorrhizae that connect most forests into a wide web in the forest.
Widely distributed throughout East and South Asia, from the Himalayas to Japan; Low monotropastrum was supposed to be one species. Now, researchers from Japan and Taiwan have discovered a pink color that they have named a unique species in its own right. Monotropastrum kirishimense.
Forest wide webs – incredible networks of fungi and plant roots that span entire forests – act as pathways for nutrient transmission as well as wires for transferring information between plants through electrical and chemical signals. These connections help to stabilize the entire forest, distributing resources from the nutrient-poor to the nutrient-rich network. They also allow plants to warn each other of predators and also help protect them from drought.
For these services, the plants provide their fungal partners with some of the hydrocarbons they use for photosynthesis.
But Monotropastrum betrays this mutual relationship by stealing all its nutrients from the fungi and returning no photosynthetic products to the nets, making them part of a very selective mycoheterotrophic club.
The most distinctive features of the recently described Japanese variety are the red-pink leaves and sepals, but there are also other differences, the researchers note.
Otherwise, a relative M. low, the roots of the recently discovered plants hardly protrude from the ground. They are even more connected to one another Russula a genus of mycorrhiza, with M. low It supports a completely different variety of fungi.
What is more, although they grow up side by side? M. kirishimense’s the flowering time does not overlap with M. low40 days in the spring. This study of these life cycles and interactions between wildlife and physical forces in the earth, such as the seasons, is called phenology.
“Our multifaceted evidence leads us to conclude that this taxon is morphologically, phenologically, phylogenetically, and economically distinct, and therefore should be recognized as a separate species,” Kobe ecologist Kenji Suetsugu and university colleagues conclude in their paper.
“Our study offers the possibility of exciting as a guest under” M. kirishimenseTo be specific Russula progeny, Urguet spe- cation fringilla.
Their different flowering times share a primary pollinator, the bumblebee Another bombshellit cannot accidentally give one species the pollen of another, preventing hybridization.
Many of the world’s forests are endangered Monotropastrum ancient forest species rely on the growth of these foreign plants that are also vulnerable to extinction. M. kirishimense It is rare and researchers suspect it is likely to be endangered.
The new plant is described in Journal of Plant Research.
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