Apr. 3, 2017

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Diane contacted me and asked how coralroot generates the carbohydrates it passes to fungi without chlorophyll.  The short answer is I don't know.  My ancient high school biology, and the chemical cycles we studied suggest that is not possible.  Two articles I read raised possibilities.  Fred Case in his Orchids of the Western Great Lakes says coralroots have a limited ability to take up nutrients from decaying material in the soil.  Another item noted that the fungi sometimes form extensive systems where they simultaneously connect to different plant species.  They then actually pass nutrients between plants.  To me, it all remains just mysterious enough to keep me interested.  We've got more fungal dependent saprophytes coming here sooner or later.  By then I may find more answers.