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The Cape Floral Region represents one of the world's biodiversity hot spots, with a high level of plant, animal and insect endemism. The fungi occurring in this region, however, remain poorly studied. It is widely postulated that each plant species should harbour at least five to six unique fungal species, a number that we regard to be a huge underestimate. To test this hypothesis, we decided to study a single senescent flower of Phaenocoma prolifera ('everlasting'; Asteraceae) collected in South Africa, and posed the question as to how many different species of fungi could be isolated and cultivated from 10 leaf bracts. Using a damp chamber technique, numerous microfungi could be induced to sporulate, enabling most of them to be successfully isolated on artificial agar media. Isolates were subsequently subjected to DNA sequencing of the ITS and LSU nrDNA regions. During the course of this study 17 species could be cultivated and identified, of which 11 appeared to be new to science. These in clude Catenulostroma hermanusense, Cladosporium phaenocomae, Devriesia tardicrescens, Exophiala capensis, Penidiella aggregata, P. ellipsoidea, Teratosphaeria karinae, Toxicocladosporium pseudoveloxum spp. nov., and Xenophacidiella pseudocatenata gen. & sp. nov. Further studies are now required to determine if these fungi also occur as endophytes in healthy flowers. If this trend holds true for other plant hosts from southern Africa, it would suggest that there are many more fungi present in the Cape Floral Region than estimated in previous studies.


Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: June 30, 2011

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  • Persoonia aims to publish papers dealing with molecular phylogeny and evolution of fungi. A further aim is to promote fungal taxonomy by employing a polythetic approach to clarify the true phylogeny and relationships within the kingdom Fungi. The journal publishes high-quality papers elucidating known and novel fungal taxa at the DNA level, and also strives to present novel insights into evolutionary processes and relationships. Papers to be considered include research articles, topical and book reviews.

    Papers are published using a Fast Track system. This implies that the papers are immediately published online and freely available through the internet via this website. For effective publication under the International Code of Botanical Nomenclature the online published papers will be distributed in printed form to several libraries at the same time.

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    Persoonia is a journal published jointly by the Nationaal Herbarium Nederland and the Centraalbureau voor Schimmelcultures.

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