Burmannia tenella Benth.

Burmannia tenella in its natural habitat Burmannia tenella (Burmanniaceae) is the only entirely achlorophyllous member of its genus in the New World. However, closely related species also show remarkable reductions according to number and surface area of leaves, representing a conclusive model of how evolution may have taken place. It is very likely that many members of the New World Burmannias depend more on their mycotrophy than on own photosynthetical activity. The picture to your right is a close-up of an inflorescence. Burmannia tenella viewed with a disecting microscope
The roots of Burmannia tenella are thick and brittle. They form star-shaped root systems (not shown here) and are stuffed with fungal hyphae that grow within the cells. See the enormous volume of the root cortex, which is dedicated to host the fungus! In contrast, the central cylinder responsible for matter transport is minute. If you are interested to know more on this system please consult: SEM-picture of an open root of Burmannia tenella

Last revised on 20 February 2001 by Stephan Imhof