Fungal endophytes are thought to play a major role in the ecotogy or many cool-season grasses. However, the frequency of endophyte infection in the wild remains poorly known. Populations of wild fescues were tested for systemic fungal endophyte infection by taking samples from four native or naturalized species throughout southern Illinois (Festuca arundinacea, F. rubra, F. obtusa, and F. paradoxa), and one of these species (F. arundinacea) from native populations in England. The two grasses native to southern Illinois (F. obtusa and F. paradoxa) were highly infected (mean infection of 91% and 100 %, respectively). The introduced grass F. rubra was uninfected. Festuca arundinacea showed variable levels of infection among populations in both southern Illinois and England (71% and 64 %, respectively). The role of endophytes in natural systems is contingent upon infection levels that appear to vary widely among these four species. Furthermore, the use of agricultural cultivars may differentially affect infection levels of naturalized plants.
- Grassland ecology
- Woodland grasses
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Plant Science