Diversity and Ecological Roles of Clavicipitaceous Endophytes of Grasses
Clavicipitaceous grass endophytes compared to nonclavicipitaceous endophytes are characterized by the systemic fungal colonization of the host plant parts by only one fungal species (see Chapter 22). The result is the development of a long-term symbiosis (Stone et al., 2004). Taxonomically, these grass endophytes are included in the family Clavicipitaceae (Ascomycota). These include epiphytic and endophytic forms in the genera of Atkinsonella Diehl, Balansia Speg., Balansiopsis Höhn., Dussiella Pat., Epichloë (Fr.) Tul & C. Tul., Myriogenospora G.F. Atk., and Parepichloë J.F. White & P.V. Reddy. Clavicipitaceous endophytes are widespread in grasses (Poaceae) with one estimate as high as 25% of cool-season grass species harboring these endophytes (White, 1987).