The Mycetozoa or Myxomycetes are a saprophytic group without chlorophyll, of simple structure and isolated position.
Those Fungi which are saprophytic can only live when supplied with organic compounds of some complexity, which they derive from decomposing animal or vegetable matter.
Such a source is commonly met with among the Fungi, the insectivorous plants, and such of the higher plants as have a saprophytic habit.
The order is well represented in Britain by 18 genera, which include several species of Orchis: Gymnadenia (fragrant orchis), Habenaria (butterfly and frog orchis), Aceras (man orchis), Hermin- ium (musk orchis), Ophrys (bee, spider and fly orchis), Epipactis (Helleborine), Cephalanthera, Neottia (bird's-nest orchis), one of the few saprophytic genera, which have no green leaves, but derive their nourishment from decaying organic matter in the soil, Listens (Tway blade), Spiranthes (lady's tresses), Malaxis (bog-orchis), Liparis (fen-orchis), Corallorhiza (coral root), also a saprophyte, and Cypripedium (lady's slipper), represented by a single species now very rare in limestone districts in the north of England.
P. 865), the agents of the transformation of cellulose into peaty substances are saprophytic fungi and bacterial ferments.