• R. Kenneth Horst
Reference work entry


Smuts, of the fungus order Ustilaginales, are named for their sooty black spore masses. Like the rusts, they belong to the Basidiomycetes and are all plant parasites, of most economic importance on cereals and grasses, but they differ from rusts in having a less complicated life history and in being able to live part of their lives saprophytically in rich organic matter or in culture media. There are two spore forms. The teliospore, usually called a chlamydospore, is formed by the rounding up of a hyphal cell. In addition to a thin inner endospore wall, it has a thick outer exospore wall, usually dark, smooth or ornamental. Teliospores are formed singly or united into balls. They can be distributed long distances by wind, and spores of some species remain viable for years. Some have to ripen several months before they can germinate.


Germ Tube Hyphal Cell Spore Masse False Smut Spore Ball 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. Kenneth Horst
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Plant Pathology and Plant-Microbe BiologyCornell UniversityIthacaUSA

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