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Distribution of Anthracocystis caledonica.

Anthracocystis caledonica (Pat.) McTaggart & R.G. Shivas


Sorosporium caledonicum Pat.
Sporisorium caledonicum (Pat.) Vánky


Sori occupying the entire inflorescence, cylindrical, 5–30 mm long or longer, 0.5–1.5 mm wide, partly enclosed by the uppermost leaf sheath, first covered by a pale brown peridium that ruptures early and becomes lacerated exposing the black agglutinated to granular-powdery mass of spore balls and several long filiform columellae. Peridium composed of longitudinally arranged firmly united rows of elongate hyaline fungal cells that have ±lost their individuality.

Spore balls globose, ovoid, ellipsoidal to elongate or irregular, 30–110 (–130) × 25–70 µm, dark reddish brown to opaque, composed of numerous (25?–150? or more?) rather firmly united spores.

Spores subglobose, ellipsoidal to subpolyhedrally irregular, 8–13 (–14) × 7–12 µm, dimorphic. Outer spores dark reddish brown; wall slightly uneven, 1.0–1.5 µm thick, rather densely and distinctly punctate-echinulate; spore profile wavy or very finely serrulate. Inner spores paler, thin-walled, c. 0.5 µm, apparently smooth to very finely punctate.

Host family: Poaceae
Host species: Heteropogon contortus (L.) P.Beauv. ex Roem. & Schult.


States & Territories: NSW, NT, QLD, WA


Anthracocystis caledonica is one of three smut fungi in Australia which destroys the entire inflorescence of Heteropogon contortus. It has several filiform columellae that differentiate it from S. contortum and S. andropogonis, which have a simple or branched columella.