Taxonomic placement of Epichloë poae sp. nov. and horizontal dissemination to seedlings via conidia

Mariusz Tadych, Karen V. Ambrose, Marshall S. Bergen, Faith C. Belanger, James F. White

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


A new Epichloë species distributed in Africa, Europe, North America and South America on host genera Bromus, Festuca, Lolium and Poa is described. Stromata, characteristic of the genus, frequently occurred on the reproductive tillers of Poa secunda subsp. juncifolia, but neither perithecia nor mature asci were observed. Conidiogenous cells and conidial characteristics were in the range of Epichloë typhina. Regions of the genes encoding β-tubulin (tub2) and translation elongation factor 1-α (tef1) were amplified and sequenced. Phylogenetic analyses of these sequences grouped the Poa secunda subsp. juncifolia endophyte into one group within a non-hybrid Epichloë species complex. On the basis of morphology, host range and evolutionary history we propose that this endophyte represents a new species of Epichloë. The name Epichloë poae is proposed for this endophyte. The infectivity of the conidia produced on plants was evaluated. In the first experiment, using conidia of Epichloë poae from leaves and endophyte-free seeds of Poa secunda subsp. juncifolia we show that when germinating seeds and developing seedlings of the plant were exposed to conidia, 28-57 % of seedlings became infected by the endophyte. The non-inoculated control plants showed no colonization by the endophyte. In the following spring after vernalization, colonized plants on flowering culms produced stromata with conidia. In the second experiment, using stromal conidia and the same procedure, 19-42 % of seedlings of Poa secunda subsp. juncifolia became colonized by the endophyte. Our results demonstrate that Epichloë poae may spread to uninfected grass hosts by conidia frequently formed on the surfaces of plant leaves as well as by conidia formed on stromata.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)117-131
Number of pages15
JournalFungal Diversity
StatePublished - May 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology


  • Endophyte
  • Epiphyllous
  • Evolution
  • Neotyphodium
  • Poa secunda subsp. juncifolia
  • Seed

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