Endophytic fungi from leaves of evergreen woody plants : taxonomy, biology and ecology.
Taxonomic diversity, biology and ecology of leaf endophytes were studied from
some evergreen plants including Arbutus unedo, Buxus sempervirens, flex aquifolium,
Laurus nobilis, Ligustrum vulgare, Prunus lusitanica, Rhododendron ponticum,
Rhododendron sp., and Skimmia sp. from England, and some others from China. It was
1. A great number of fungal species, including several new species and new British
records, have been isolated. Distribution patterns of endophyte assemblages and their
variations between plant species and geographical locations are described.
2. Comparisons of leaf endophytes and saprobes of R. ponlicum at the same
locality showed they belonged to two different ecological groups. This was further
confirmed by study on endophytes and saprobes from a number of plant species growing in
the same locality.
3. Host specificity of endophytic fungi at the species level was rare and this was
supported by comparisons of endophyte assemblages from both taxonomically related
(same family) and unrelated (different families) plant species. Molecular characterisations
of Phyllosticta species confirmed this.
4. Infection and colonisation studies during a two year period showed that leaf
endophytes of R. ponlicum were horizontally transmitted. Internal bud material was sterile
and became infected by aerial spores. The infection and colonisation level of endophytes
were strongly affected by environmental conditions.
5. Phylogenetic studies of Phyllosticta based on ITS 1-5.8s rDNA-ITS2 sequences
concluded there was no evidence to show that the evolution of host plants of Phyllosticta
species and ITS were related. Most Phyllosticta species from the same locality were found
to have a broad host range and occurred on many taxonomically unrelated plants in the
same locality. P. concentrica was separated into 4 species including P. concentrica on
Hedera, P. arxii on Ilex, P. maxima on Rhododendron and P. taxi on Taxus.