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An Endomycorrhiza arbuscular mycorrhiza (plural mycorrhizae or mycorrhizas) is a type of mycorrhiza in which the fungus penetrates the cortical cells of the roots of a vascular plant. Arbuscular mycorrhizae (AMs) are characterized by the formation of unique structures such as arbuscules and vesicles by fungi of the phylum Glomeromycota (AM fungi). AM fungi help plants to capture nutrients such as phosphorus and micronutrients from the soil. It is believed that the development of the arbuscular mycorrhizal symbiosis played a crucial role in the initial colonisation of land by plants and in the evolution of the vascular plants.
Ectomycorrhizas, or EcM, are typically formed between the roots of around 10% of plant families, mostly woody plants including the birch, dipterocarp, eucalyptus, oak, pine, and rose families and fungi belonging to the Basidiomycota, Ascomycota, and Zygomycota. Ectomycorrhizas consist of a hyphal sheath, or mantle, covering the root tip and a hartig net of hyphae surrounding the plant cells within the root cortex. In some cases the hyphae may also penetrate the plant cells, in which case the mycorrhiza is called an ectendomycorrhiza. Outside the root, the fungal mycelium forms an extensive network within the soil and leaf litter. Nutrients can be shown to move between different plants through the fungal network (sometimes called the wood wide web). Carbon has been shown to move from birch trees into fir trees thereby promoting succession in ecosystems.