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Tilletia tritici (click on image to enlarge it)
Author(s): Walter Emil Friedrich August Migula
Source: Wikimedia Commons


The smut fungi of the order Tilletiales infect mainly grasses and several are important pathogens of cereals like Karnal bunt, Tilletia indica, or common bunt, Tilletia tritici. Some species produce teliospores in leaves and stems, but the large majority of members produce teliospores in host ovaries.

Important morphological characteristics of the order are the ornamentation of the teliospores, the number and nuclear condition of the primary basidiospores and the ability of the primary basidiospores to conjugate and form an infective dikaryon. For a taxonomic review of the order see Castlebury et al., 2005.

The following genera and individual species are currently entered under this order: