, Volume 73, Issue 3, pp 358–362

Effects of fungal endophytes on the seed and seedling biology of Lolium perenne and Festuca arundinacea

Original Papers


Many grasses are infected by endophytic fungi that grow intercellularly in leaves, stems, and flowers and are transmitted maternally by hyphal growth into ovules and seeds. The seed biology and seedling growth of endophyte-infected and uninfected perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne) and tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea) were investigated under controlled environmental conditions. The percentage of filled seeds produced by infected tall fescue was over twice of uninfected tall fescue; infected and uninfected perennial reegrass had similar percentages. Weights of seeds from infected and uninfected plants were similar in both species. Seeds from infected plants of both species exhibited a higher rate of germination than seeds from uninfected plants. Shoot growth in the greenhouse was compared by making three sequential harvests of above-ground plant parts from infected and uninfected plants of both species. Infected perennial ryegrass plants produced significantly more biomass and tillers than uninfected plants after 6 and 10 weeks of growth and significantly more biomass after 14 weeks of growth. Infected tall fescue plants produced significantly more biomass and tillers than uninfected plants after 10 and 14 weeks of growth. The physiological mechanism of enhancement of growth is not known. The results of this study suggest that infected plants may have a selective advantage in populations with uninfected members.

Key words

Lolium perenne Festuca arundinacea Leaf endophytes Seed endophytes Germination Growth 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • K. Clay
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of BiologyIndiana UniversityBloomingtonUSA

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