Live at Lunch Fungi Fest: Mycoheterotrophs

Live at Lunch is a monthly series where you can hear directly from curators, archivists, staff and researchers at the Royal BC Museum as well as fascinating community members and guests.

Mycoheterotrophs are a group of distinctively weird vascular plants. They lack chlorophyll, and the missing pigment has two important effects: these plants aren’t green (they’re usually white or pink), and they can’t manufacture their own food through photosynthesis. Many field guides describe these plants as saprophytes, plants that derive their nutrition from decaying organic matter. Plants, however, don’t get food this way, and the “myco” at the beginning of the word “mycoheterotroph” explains what is really happening: these odd plants get their nutrition from fungi!

About Guest Speaker Andy MacKinnon:

Andy MacKinnon is a forest ecologist who lives in Metchosin, BC. He was lead BC scientist for Environment Canada’s 2017 ranking of our province’s threatened and endangered fungal species. Andy has taught rainforest ecology field courses in Bamfield and Tofino (for the University of Victoria) and Haida Gwaii (for UBC). He is co-author of six best-selling books about plants of western North America, and co-author of the Royal BC Museum Handbook Mushrooms of British Columbia. He is past-president of the South Vancouver Island Mycological Society (SVIMS), and an enthusiastic participant, speaker and field trip leader for various mushroom festivals in southwestern BC each autumn.

Fungi Fest at the Royal BC Museum is a week-long series of events, films and lectures celebrating the launch of Fungi: Web of Life at IMAX® Victoria. 

Get in Touch

Alexandra Weaver
Theatre Manager / Theatre and Box Office