Systematics of the Graminicolous Clavicipitaceae

Applications of Morphological and Molecular Approaches
  • James F. WhiteJr.


The family Clavicipitaceae (Ascomycotina) is important since it contains many species that are biotrophic associates of other organisms. Some species of Clavicipitaceae are obligate parasites of insects (e.g., species of Cordyceps [Fr.] Link); others, the graminicolous Clavicipitaceae, are obligate parasites of grasses and sedges (e.g., species of Balansia Speg., Claviceps Tul. and Epichloë [Fr.] Tul.). Among the important systematic problems in the graminicolous Clavicipitaceae are: 1) resolution of suprageneric classification; 2) definition of genera; and 3) definition of species. It is the conviction of the author that the systematic problems in this group of organisms may be resolved only by taking a holistic approach to systematics of the entire family. The following treatment expands on each of these problems and provides summary data of the state of the systematics to date.


Type Species Tall Fescue Conidiogenous Cell Representative Specimen Obligate Parasite 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Atkinson, G.F. 1891. On the structure and dimorphism of Hypocrea tuberiformis. The Bot. Gaz. 16: 282–287.Google Scholar
  2. Atkinson, G.F. 1894. Steps toward a revision of the linosporous species of North American gramicolous Hypocreaceae. Torr. Bot. Club, Bul. 21: 222–225.Google Scholar
  3. Chardon, C.E. 1921. A contribution to our knowledge of the Pyrenomycetes of Puerto Rico. Mycologia 13: 279–300.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Christensen, M.J., A. Leuchtmann, D.D. Rowan, and B.A. Tapper, 1993. Taxonomy of Acremonium endophytes of tall fescue (Festuca arundinaceae), meadow fescue (Festuca pratensis).and perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne). Mycolog. Res. 97: 1083–1092.Google Scholar
  5. Clay, K. 1986. Induced vivipary in the sedge Cyperus virens and the transmission of the fungus Balansia cyperi (Clavicipitaceae). Can. J. Bot. 64: 2984–2988.Google Scholar
  6. Clay, K., and I. C. Frentz. 1993. Balansia pilulaeformis, an epiphytic species. Mycologia 85: 527–534.Google Scholar
  7. Diehl, W.W. 1950. Balansia and the Balansiae in America. USDA, Washington, DC.Google Scholar
  8. Gäumann, E.A. 1952. The Fungi. Hafner Publishing Company, New York.Google Scholar
  9. Glenn, A.E., C.W. Bacon, R. Price, and R. T. Hanlin. 1996. Molecular phylogeny of Acremonium and its taxonomic implications. Mycologia 88:Google Scholar
  10. Hennings, P. 1904. Einige neue Pilze aus Costarica und Paraguay. Hedwigia 43: 147–149.Google Scholar
  11. King, A.M. 1919. Notes on the genus Balansia. South African J. Sci. 15: 670–673.Google Scholar
  12. Leuchtmann, A. 1994. Isozyme characterization persistence, and computability of fungal and grass mutualists. Pp. 21–22. In C.W. Bacon and J.F. White, Jr. (Eds.) Biotechnology of Endophytic Fungi Grasses. CRC Press.Google Scholar
  13. Leuchtmann, A., and K. Clay. 1988. Atkinsonella hypoxylon and Balansia cyperi, epyhytic members of the Balan-sieae. Mycologia 80: 192–199.Google Scholar
  14. Leuchtmann, A., C.L. Schardl, and M.R. Siegel. 1994. Sexual compatibility and taxonomy of a new species of Epichloë symbiotic with fine fescue grasses. Mycologia 86: 802–812.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Luttrell, E.S. 1951. Taxonomy of the Pyrenomycetes. University of Missouri, Columbia, MO.Google Scholar
  16. Luttrell, E.S. and C.W. Bacon. 1977. Classification of Myrcogenospora in the Claviciptaceae. Canad. J. Bot. 55: 2090–2097.Google Scholar
  17. Marchionatto, J.B. 1940. Nota toxonomica sobre Munkia martyris, Ustilaginoidea strumosa y Shropshira chusqueae. Revista Argentina de Agro. 7: 172–175.Google Scholar
  18. Morgan-Jones and S.w. Gams. 1982. Notes on hyphomycetes: XLII. An endophyte of Festuca arundinacea and the anamorphy of Epichloë typhina, new taxa in one of two new sections of Acremonium. Mycotaxon 15: 311–318.Google Scholar
  19. Morgan-Jones, G., and J.F. White, Jr. 1989. Concerning Atkinsonella texensis, a pathogen of the grass Stipa leucotricha: developmental morphology and mating system. Mycotaxon 35: 455–467.Google Scholar
  20. Patouillard, N., and P. Hariot. 1893. Fungos aliquot novos in regione congoana collectos. Soc. Mycol. de France, Bul. 9: 206–211.Google Scholar
  21. Phelps, R. A., G. Morgan-Jones, and M. R. Owsley. 1993. Systematic and biological studies in the Balansieae and related anamorphs. IV. Host-pathogen relationship of Aristidapurpurascens and Balansia aristidae. Mycotaxon 48: 165–178.Google Scholar
  22. Rehner, S. A., and G. J. Samuels. 1995. Molecular systematics of the Hypocreales: a teleomorph gene phylogeny and the status of their anamorphs. Can. J. Bot. 73: 816–823.Google Scholar
  23. Schardl, C.L., J.-S. Liu, J.F. White, Jr., R.A. Finkel, Z. An, and M.R. Siegel. 1991. Molecular phylogenetic relationships of nonpathogenic grass mycosymbionts and clavicipitaceous plant pathogens. Plant Systematics & Evolution 178: 27–41.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Spatafora, J.W. and M. Blackwell. 1993. Molecular systematics of unitunicate perithecial ascomycetes: The Clavicipitales - Hypocreales Connection. Mycologia 85: 912–922.Google Scholar
  25. Taber, W.A. 1985. Biology of Claviceps. Pp. 449–486, In: A.L. Demain and N.A. Solomon (Eds.), Biology of Industrial Microorganisms. Benjamin/Cummings Publishing Company, London, England.Google Scholar
  26. Tsai, H.-F., J.-S. Liu, C. Staben, M.J. Christensen, G.C.M. Latch, M.R. Siegel. and C. L. Schardl. 1994. Evolutionary diversification of fungal endophytes of tall fescue grass by hybridization with Epichloë species. Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. 91: 2542–2546.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. White, J.F., Jr. 1987. Widespread distribution of endophytes in the Poaceae. Plant Disease 71: 340–342.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. White, J.F., Jr. 1988. Endophyte-host associations in forage grasses. XI. A proposal concerning origin and evolution. Mycologia 80: 442–446.Google Scholar
  29. White, J.F., Jr. 1993a. Endophyte-host associations in grasses. XIX. A systematic study of some sympatric species of Epichloë in England. Mycologia 85: 444–455.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. White, J.F., Jr. 1993b. Structure and mating system of the graminucolous fungal epibiont Echinodothis tuberformis (Clavicipitales). Amer.J. Bot.Google Scholar
  31. White, J.F., Jr. 1994a. Endophyte-host associations in grasses. XX. Structural and reproductive studies of Epichloë amarillans sp. nov. and comparisons to E. typhina. Mycologia 86: 571–580.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. White, J.F., Jr. 1994b. Taxonomic relationships among the members of the Balansiceae (Clavicipitales). Pp. 3–20. In: Bacon and White, J.F. Biotechnology of Endophyte Fungi of Grasses. CRC Press, Boca Raton, Florida.Google Scholar
  33. White, J.F., Jr. and A.E. Glenn. 1994. A study of two fungal epibionts of grasses: structural features, host relationships, and classification in the genus Myriogenospora Atk. (Clavicipitales). Am. J. Bot. 81: 216–223.Google Scholar
  34. White, J.F., Jr., and D.R. Huff. Endophyte-host associations in grasses. XXIV. Some evidence to support the occurrence of endophyte microspecies complexes centered around sexually-reproducing species of Epichloë. Symbiosis 20: 219–227.Google Scholar
  35. White, J.F., Jr., and J.R. Owens. 1992. Stromal development and mating system of Balansia epichloë, a leaf-colonizing endophyte of warm-season grasses. Applied and Environ. Microbiol. 58: 513–519.Google Scholar
  36. White, J.F., Jr., P.V. Reddy, A.E. Glenn, and C.W. Bacon. In press. Endophyte-host associations in Grasses. XXVI. Structural features and phylogenetic relationships in Balansia subgenus Dothichloé. MycologiaGoogle Scholar
  37. White, J. F., Jr., L. Sharp, T. Martin, and A. Glenn. 1995. Endophyte-host associations in grasses. XXI. A study of structure and development of Balansia obtecta (Clavicipitaceae; Ascomycotina ). Mycologia 87: 172–181.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • James F. WhiteJr.
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Plant PathologyRutgers UniversityNew BrunswickUSA

Personalised recommendations