Seasonal trends in colonisation of Protea infructescences by Gondwanamyces and Ophiostoma spp.
Seasonal growth of the fungal genera Gondwanamyces and Ophiostoma (hereafter referred to as ophiostomatoid fungi) on the floral parts of serotinous Proteaceae flowers was investigated. Several new Protea host species were found and new knowledge emerged regarding the tissue types colonised by these fungi. Although floral parts of a wide range of Proteaceae were examined, ophiostomatoid fungi were exclusively collected from the infructescences of serotinous species of Protea. A definite seasonal pattern was observed, with colonisation numbers peaking during the wetter winter months. P. laurifolia was found to be a new host for Ophiostoma splendens and Gondwanamyces capensis. Ophiostomatoid fungi were restricted to dead floral parts, and fruiting structures were never observed on living plant tissue. Both the vector organisms and the specific ecological function of the ophiostomatoid fungi are still unknown, and require further investigation. Copyright © NISC Pty Ltd.