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Endophytic fungi associated with the temperate palm, Trachycarpus fortunei, within and outside its natural geographic range

  • J. E. TAYLOR (a1), K. D. HYDE (a2) and E. B. G. JONES (a3)

Abstract

Fungal endophytes associated with the palm, Trachycarpus fortunei, within and outside its natural geographic range were investigated. Endophytes were relatively common with colonization rates of 23–57% at the four sites sampled. The endophyte assemblages at the different sites were diverse with 75 fertile species of ascomycetes and mitosporic fungi. The assemblage composition at each site was similar and between seven and 13 species comprised 81–89% of the taxa present in relative frequencies of >1%. Glomerella cingulata and Phomopsis spp., were consistently dominant, and a large number of rare species were recorded. The diversity at each site was similar in number, but the abundance of isolates varied. The results obtained were comparable to those of previous studies of palm endophyte assemblages, but the assemblages showed more affinity with unrelated temperate hosts than with tropical palm hosts. Quantitative and qualitative differences in endophyte assemblages from old and young tissues were observed, and more isolates were recovered from old tissues independent of the age of the palm. The composition of the assemblage varied with several taxa being exclusively or more commonly isolated from old tissues (e.g. xylariaceous taxa, Oxydothis sp. nov.) or young tissues (e.g. Stagonospora spp., Phoma multirostrata). Some differences in the composition of the assemblage and in relative frequencies of various species were observed in trees and saplings. Significantly more isolates were recovered from the vein than intervein tissues, independent of leaf age or tree age. Tissue specificity was not exhibited by any taxa isolated from either leaf or petiole tissues, except for xylariaceous taxa in leaf tissues. Some other taxa showed a preference for leaf tissues or petioles, whereas others were equally distributed amongst all tissues. Endophyte assemblages of palms from continuous distributions were similar, but those from disjunct distributions (i.e. outside the natural geographic range of the palm, such as Australia and Switzerland), differed significantly from each other and from assemblages within continuous distributions. The relative importance values of endophyte species at the two sites in China indicates the site-specific nature of the endophyte assemblages. Most previous studies on the endophytes of palm hosts have concentrated on tropical palms. However, this study examines the endophytes of the warm temperate palm Trachycarpus fortunei, and investigates the relative importance of host and climate related processes.

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Author for correspondence (tel +27 21 8084223; fax +28 21 8084956; email jtaylor@land.sun.ac.za).

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Endophytic fungi associated with the temperate palm, Trachycarpus fortunei, within and outside its natural geographic range

  • J. E. TAYLOR (a1), K. D. HYDE (a2) and E. B. G. JONES (a3)

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