Anthracocystis heteropogonicola (Mundk. & Thirum.) McTaggart & R.G. Shivas


Sorosporium heteropogonicola Mundk. & Thirum.
Sporisorium heteropogonicola (Mundk. & Thirum.) Vánky


Sori in some of the ovaries of an inflorescence, long-cylindrical or fusiform, 5–15 (–20) mm long, 0.7–1.0 mm wide, covered by an initially white, later pale yellowish brown peridium that ruptures from its apex exposing the black granular-powdery mass of spore balls and
(1–) 2–3 filiform columellae of host and fungal origin.

Spore balls rather persistent, broadly ellipsoidal, elongate, or usually subpolyhedrally irregular, 45–180 (–260) × 30–140 µm, dark reddish brown, composed of tens to hundreds of spores that separate by pressure.

Spores subglobose, ellipsoidal to subpolyhedrally irregular, 8.0–13.5 × 8–12 µm, dimorphic. Outer spores reddish brown, prominently and densely verrucose on the free surface, finely punctate-verruculose to almost smooth on the contact surfaces; wall uneven, thickest at the angles and on the free surface, 1.0–2.5 µm thick (including warts). Inner spores subhyaline to pale yellow or pale yellowish brown; wall uniformly 0.5–0.8 µm thick, very finely punctate to smooth.

Sterile cells in chains or irregular groups, subglobose, subcylindrical or irregular, with flattened contact sides, 4–16 × 3–11 µm, subhyaline, smooth.

Spore germination resulting in septate basidia with lateral and terminal ovoid to ellipsoidal basidiospores and hyphae.

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


States & Territories: NT, QLD, WA


Anthracocystis heteropogonicola produces fusiform sori in some ovaries of an inflorescence and is easily distinguished from the three other smut fungi that infect Heteropogon contortus in Australia. Although the earliest Australian collection dates back to 1940, A. heteropogonicola was first identified in Australia in 1997 (Shivas & Vánky, 1997).