Symbiotic Relationships are the Key

Where forests show the way

Tramping through the winter forests I continue my research on the book I hope beneficial for all, The Art of Forest Bathing. I have been exploring mushrooms recently — many fungi are also associated with trees because they are linked into the tree roots, a phenomenon known as a mycorrhizae. In this symbiotic relationship the fungi extract food (sugars) they need, and in return supply the roots with nutrients (and water) especially phosphorus, to the roots. In soils containing little phosphorus, plants with mycorrhizae have been shown to grow up to 20 times faster than those without.

It is possible that mycorrhizae enables different plants to exchange nutrients between them via the fungal hyphae. In ectomycorrhiza, the fungus forms associations with roots but does not enter the root cells of trees such as pines, firs, spruces and oaks. The ectomycorrhiza fungi may form thick hyphal strands known as rhizomorphs which can conduct water, nutrients and perhaps even ‘‘knowledge’’ long distances. Many of the fungi common in woodland are ectomycorrhizal fungi.

The forest today, however, is covered by snow, and shows little. The phosphorus lesson stays with me though, as I glance at the healthy trees — and I make a note to remind future readers of the benefits of phosphorus for sexual performance. Generally foods high in protein are high in phosphorus levels.

In it unlikely that much of that detail will make it into the book, though interesting. Meanwhile I enjoy the walking through the forest, and finding out what other ideas the trees give.

a ray of sunshine
still left over from last summer
softly strokes the pines