Australian Journal of Botany Australian Journal of Botany Society
Southern hemisphere botanical ecosystems

Thismia rodwayi F. Muell. and its endophyte

EI McLennan

Australian Journal of Botany 6(1) 25 - 37
Published: 1958


The morphology of Thisrnia rodwayi — a holosaprophytic plant belonging to the Burmanniaceae — is described, together with an account of its associated mycorrhiza. Evidence is presented of the liberation of an osmic-staining fat from the fungal hyphae into the cells of the higher plant. Subsequently these globules disappear and are replaced by a complex polysaccharide resembling glycogen.

The appearance of osmic acid-staining globules in the lumen of the cells and their ultimate disappearance is shown to be a phenomenon common to the complete saprophyte and to green mycorrhizal plants. It is, therefore, unrealistic to suggest that this arbuscular type of mycorrhiza should be interpreted as an example of parasitism, as is so often the case in the relevant literature.

© CSIRO 1958

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