WHAT ARE MYCORRHIZAE?

A mycorrhiza is formed when a fungus and a plant root combine.  This combination is termed a mycorrhizal association.


It is important to understand that a mycorrhiza is neither a root nor a fungus but a distinct and separate entity that is created by the coming together of the two.  The fungus infects the root and is literally a "fungus root" derived from Greek words; mykes - mushroom or fungus, and rhiza - root.

 

In addition, the fungus part of the mycorrhizae sends out a very fine network of cotton-like strands, almost like roots themselves.  This network consists of individual strands called hyphae.  These strands of hyphae collectively form a huge network called a mycelium.  This mycelium network is easily seen by turning over rotting leaves in a woodland.  The mycelium network is the white velvety coating on the rotting vegetation.

Mycorrhiza

With cotton-like strands

Mycelium Network