The liverwort Marchantia foliacea forms a specialized symbiosis with arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi in the genus Glomus


Author for correspondence:Simon Bulman Tel: +64 3325 6400 Fax: +64 3325 2074 Email:


  • • Microscopic evidence suggests that fungi forming endosymbioses with liverworts in the Marchantiales are arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi from the Glomeromycota. Polymerase chain reaction amplification of ribosomal sequences confirmed that endophytes of the New Zealand liverwort, Marchantia foliacea, were members of the genus Glomus.
  • • Endophytes from two Glomus rDNA phylotypes were repeatedly isolated from geographically separated liverwort samples.
  • • Multiple phylotypes were present in the same liverwort patch. The colonizing Glomus species exhibited substantial internal transcribed spacer sequence variation within phylotypes.
  • • This work suggests that certain liverwort species may serve as a model for studying DNA sequence variation in colonizing AM phylotypes and specificity in AM–host relationships.