Tilletia (genus)

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Tilletia laevis teliospores, scale = 10 µm (click on image to enlarge it)
Author(s): Roger Shivas, DEEDI
Source: PaDIL

Tilletia Tul. & C. Tul. 1847

This genus of smut fungi contains more than 100 species that infect grasses. Several are important pathogens of cereals like Karnal bunt, Tilletia indica, or common bunt, Tilletia tritici. They mostly form teliospores on host ovaries, but nine species form teliospores on leaves and stems.

Tilletia is characterized by the formation of pigmented teliospores mixed with hyaline sterile cells. The teliospore ornamentation ranges from reticulate, echinulate, verrucose, tuberculate to smooth. Teliospores germinate to form an aseptate basidium, frequently with multiple retraction septa, and a terminal whorl of aerial primary basidiospores (Castlebury et al., 2005), see that article for a taxonomic review of the genus.

Currently, the following species have been entered into the system: