Original Research

Plant Protection Research Institute

N. Allsopp, W. D. Stock
Bothalia | Vol 23, No 1 | a794 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/abc.v23i1.794 | © 1993 N. Allsopp, W. D. Stock | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 10 October 1993 | Published: 10 October 1993

About the author(s)

N. Allsopp, Department of Botany. University of Cape Town, South Africa
W. D. Stock, Department of Botany. University of Cape Town, South Africa

Full Text:



A survey of the mycorrhizal status of plants growing in the Cape Floristic Region of South Africa was undertaken to assess the range of mycorrhizal types and their dominance in species characteristic of this region. Records were obtained by ex­amining the root systems of plants growing in three Cape lowland vegetation types, viz. West Coast Strandveld, West Coast Renosterveld and Sand Plain Lowland Fynbos for mycorrhizas, as well as by collating literature records of mycorrhizas on plants growing in the region. The mycorrhizal status of 332 species is listed, of which 251 species are new records. Members of all the important families in this region have been examined. Mycorrhizal status appears to be associated mainly with taxonomic position of the species. Extrapolating from these results, we conclude that 62% of the flora of the Cape Floristic Region form vesicular-arbuscular mycorrhizas, 23% have no mycorrhizas, 8% are ericoid mycorrhizal, 2% form orchid mycorrhizas, whereas the mycorrhizal status of 4% of the flora is unknown. There were no indigenous ectomycor- rhizal species. The proportion of non-mycorrhizal species is high compared to other ecosystems. In particular, the lack of mycorrhizas in several important perennial families in the Cape Floristic Region is unusual. The diversity of nutrient acquir­ing adaptations, including the range of mycorrhizas and cluster roots in some non-mycorrhizal families, may promote co­existence of plants in this species-rich region.


cluster roots, Fynbos, mediterranean-type shrublands; mycorrhizas; root systems


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