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The Orchid and the Fungus

An orchid that blooms in June of each year is the pink lady slipper. This orchid interacts with a specific soil fungus that enables its seeds to sprout. Unlike most seeds that have a food supply to provide nourishment for sprouting, this orchid’s seeds need the threads of the fungus to attach to the seed and to deliver important nutrients for the seed to grow.

What is interesting is once the plant grows it returns the favor by providing the fungus with nutrients for its survival. This mutualistic relationship is important to the survival of both species.

This is a fairly common orchid found in deciduous woodlands in the eastern U.S. Its showy, fragrance blossoms are easy to spot.

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