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The biodiversity of the saprobic microfungi occurring in Protea infructescences (flowerheads) was investigated. A total of 28 fungal species including 14 ascomycetes and 14 anamorphic fungi were collected from 2000-2001. The mycoflora of the infructescences, especially the flowers, were found to differ totally from that of the bracts and other Protea tissues. This indicates their uniqueness as fungal micro-habitat. Furthermore, the majority of ascomycete species isolated from these flowers were characterised by having long ostiolar necks. This finding indicates that insects play a major role in the dispersal of the ascomycetes that occur on these infructescences, which is further corroborated by the unusually high number of insects that frequent these flowers. From these data it is clear that the saprobic fungal flora of Protea infructescences have a unique ecological role. However, the exact nature of this interaction will only become clear once further studies are conducted monitoring the individual components of this ecosystem.
Original languageEnglish
JournalFungal Diversity
Journal publication date2005

ID: 419080