A Franco-German team of researchers from the CNRS and the University of Réunion have studied the interaction between orchids and fungi in Réunion. 73 of the 130 orchid species identified on the island were analyzed. They live in symbiosis with certain species of fungi which colonize their roots, helping them to absorb nutrients.
This is the largest study of fungi / orchid symbiosisever undertaken.
The study was published in the journal Molecular Ecology. It revealed that the fungus of terrestrial orchids and orchid epiphytes (living in trees) are not the same: evolutionary similar orchids tend to harbor closely related species of fungi.