Evolutionary history of mycorrhizal symbioses and global host plant diversity

Mark C Brundrett, Leho Tedersoo

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

626 Citations (Scopus)


The majority of vascular plants are mycorrhizal: 72% are arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM), 2.0% are ectomycorrhizal (EcM), 1.5% are ericoid mycorrhizal and 10% are orchid mycorrhizal. Just 8% are completely nonmycorrhizal (NM), whereas 7% have inconsistent NM-AM associations. Most NM and NM-AM plants are nutritional specialists (e.g. carnivores and parasites) or habitat specialists (e.g. hydrophytes and epiphytes). Mycorrhizal associations are consistent in most families, but there are exceptions with complex roots (e.g. both EcM and AM). We recognize three waves of mycorrhizal evolution, starting with AM in early land plants, continuing in the Cretaceous with multiple new NM or EcM linages, ericoid and orchid mycorrhizas. The third wave, which is recent and ongoing, has resulted in root complexity linked to rapid plant diversification in biodiversity hotspots.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1108-1115
Number of pages8
JournalNew Phytologist
Issue number4
Early online date22 Jan 2018
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2018


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