Submitted to: Proceedings of Northeastern Weed Science Society
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: December 13, 2005
Publication Date: January 3, 2006
Citation: Berner, D.K., Smallwood, E.L. 2006. A new smut fungus for classical biological control of carduus thistles. Proceedings of Northeastern Weed Science Society 60:18. Technical Abstract: In the spring of 2005 we collected a smut fungus from Italian thistle (Carduus pycnocephalus L.) in Greece. This fungus is morphologically and genetically distinct from other smuts in the genus Microbotryum and fits the description of M. cardui. This fungus is the only Microbotryum spp. reported on Carduus spp. Plants infected by M. cardui do not produce any seeds. For Carduus spp. that reproduce solely by seeds, infection by M. cardui is catastrophic and can endanger populations of the weeds. Because there are no native Carduus spp. in the U.S., an effective pathogen like M. cardui is particularly attractive.