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Leafless mycoheterotrophic orchid, flowers approx. 2cm across, totally lacking chlorophyll and known as a 'Ghost' as it is only visible at time of flowering. Unusual of its kind as it has been found to be reliant on a broad range of fungi to associate with its roots and supply a source of carbon. The fungi are all ectomycorrhizal, forming relationships with various trees.
Tropical Asian Dipterocarp forests.
This kind of orchid has been wrongly classed as saprophytic for decades! As saprophytes feed on dead organic matter, in this case, not even the fungi Aphyllorchis montana associates with are saprophytes and orchids that have this kind of relationship are essentially parasitic on the fungi, hence the term mycoheterotroph.
Spotted on Sep 9, 2010
Submitted on Oct 11, 2011