Detailed examination of the structural and functional integration taking place during mycorrhiza formation necessitates rapid and aseptic synthesis of uniform mycorrhizal structures at well-defined stages of development. A system is described for formation of ectomycorrhizas between Betula pendula Roth, and Paxillus iiwolulus (Batsch) Fr. Small sterile seedlings were placed directly on fungal colonies growing on cellophane covered agar plates. Microscopic examination during the course of development indicated an initial rapid colonization of the roots and formation of a fully developed mantle within 2–4 d. Hartig net formation was evident after 8 d of contact and involved a transition from a para epidermal organization to a mature peri epidermal Hartig net after 15 d of contact. Using a standard fungal growth medium, formation and development of mycorrhizas were not greatly affected by changes in the overall concentrations of nitrogen and phosphorus but changes in the ratio of nitrogen to phosphorus had strong effects on development and mycorrhiza formation was completely suppressed when the ratio of nitrogen to phosphorus was increased. These differences were not related to the effects of nitrogen or phosphorus on linear growth of the fungus.