The Epic Journey from the Ocean to Dry Land - and the Mycorrhizal Advantage
We now know how important mycorrhizal fungi are to the billions of plants on our planet today. Mycorrhizae form a symbiosis with plant roots - assisting them in their hunt for water and nutrient in soils.
Below - a Y-shaped root tip surrounded by a network of mycorrhizal filaments (hyphae)
In undisturbed (natural) landscapes, or on sites where the natural ecology of soil is encouraged to recover, mycorrhizae will become an essential link between roots and soil. But how long have green plants been relying on the assistance of mycorrhizal fungi? As it turns out, when the first land plants began their migration from ancient primordial oceans to dry land (some 460 million years ago) they brought mycorrhiza with them to help on the journey.
It would take hundreds of million of years before the evolutionary process would produce trees (as we would recognize today). But even after all of that incredible change - the ancient partnership with mycorrhiza persists. One can only conclude that the mycorrhizal advantage is on that plants won't easily surrender.