Claviceps (genus)

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Claviceps purpurea infection on a wheat grain (click on image to enlarge it)
Author(s): Dominique Jacquin
Source: Wikimedia Commons

Claviceps Tul. 1853 - (ergot fungi)

The genus contains around 50 species of fungi which infect the florets of cereals and grasses. The ovaries become infected and the fungus can develop asexual conidia which further spread the infection. The fungus then forms a sclerotium which has a similar shape as a cereal seed. This structure serves as a resting stage for the fungus and can overwinter in the environment. When a sclerotium germinates it produces small fruiting bodies with sexual ascospores.

Outbreaks of ergot fungi can develop on cereals. The main concern is the production of poisonous ergot alkaloids by the fungi which contaminate the grain.

Type species: Claviceps purpurea

For details see the respective page in Wikipedia.

The following species are currently entered in the system: