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Biology

Very little is known about this fungus apart from the fact that it is thought to be an indicator of ancient, un-improved grassland, and often occurs in association with a range of waxcap fungi. In the Brecon Beacons it occurs on short turf that has developed over ancient lime-kiln waste, and on the former track beds of railways, all known to be over 25 years old and probably nearer 100 years. It may have an association with dead vegetation, particularly mosses. This behaviour is known as 'saprophytic', from the Greek words sapros 'rotten' and phuton 'plant'. Any organism that lives off the dead remains of plants is called a saprophyte. Fungi are thought by some to be better indicators of change in land use than many plants. Although we know of a great many different species, very little is known about the relationships most of these fungi have with other plants or, indeed, other organisms. There are many species of plants that only grow well if their roots are associated with a particular species of fungus. The fungal threads living under the ground attach themselves to the roots of the young plant and greatly improve the plant's chances of obtaining water and nutrients for growth. In the case of orchids, many of them cannot germinate at all without the right fungal partner.

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Source: ARKive

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