Survival and spread of the endophyte Stagonospora pteridiicola in Pteridium aquilinum, other ferns and some flowering plants

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SUMMARY

Pteridium aquilinum (L.) Kuhn was sampled for colonization by Stagonospora pteridiicola in Great Britain, Hungary and Australia. British samples gave the highest incidence of 68% during September and 12% at the beginning of the growing season. Hungarian samples showed a similar frequency. The fungus was not found in Australian bracken. Five field-collected fern species other than bracken did not contain the fungus in May when bracken already had a colonisation frequency of 12% in the pinnules. Sampling after the bracken had died in November demonstrated that the fungus had continued growth as a saprobe. Glasshouse-grown bracken sprayed with a spore suspension showed 96% colonization after 21 d, whereas four fern species and five flowering plants, similarly treated, gave colonization frequencies of 0–3%. Other glasshouse-grown bracken, similarly sprayed, showed that colonization declined over 5 months from 75% to 40%, and that the fungus showed little spread into fresh unsprayed growth on these plants. The possible species specificity of the fungus is discussed.

Ancillary