• Ascomycetes;
  • Balansieae;
  • Taxonomy;
  • Host range;
  • Toxicity


Clavicipitaceous endophytes (Ascomycetes) are distributed worldwide in many grasses and sedges forming a perennial and often mutualistic association with their hosts. Most endophytes appear to produce alkaloid toxins in infected plants. The high frequency of infection in many grasses and in certain grassland communities may indicate a selective advantage of infected over non-infected host plants due to their toxic effects on grazing animals and insects. Field observations and artificial inoculations of seedings have demonstrated a high degree of specificity of most endophytes to their host plant, particularly in asexual, seed-bome endophytes. Specific isozyme genotypes found on several host species suggest that host-specific physiological races may occur. Knowledge of host range and host specificity is vital for potential applications of endophytes in pest control. © 1992 Wiley-Liss, Inc.