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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

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Blind Seed Disease

Geographical Distribution and Host Range

The blind seed fungus was first recorded on infected seeds of rye (Secale cereale L.) in France in 1891 (Prillieux and Delacroix 1891, Neill and Hyde 1942). Although first reported on rye, its subsequent occurrence on this crop is very rare. Blind seed disease is primarily a problem of forage and turf grasses grown for seed.

Blind seed disease was unknown in Great Britain until after its discovery in New Zealand. However, the connection between blind seed and low germination in ryegrass (Lolium sp.) was suspected to be of long standing in Great Britain, since low germination in some years was well known (Calvert and Muskett 1944, 1945). Proof of the long-standing occurrence of blind seed was established when conidia of G. temulenta were found among stored seeds from a 1909 ryegrass crop grown in Ireland (Lafferty 1948). The identification of blind seed disease in the United States in 1944 established that the fungus was widely distributed on ryegrass grown for seed, a distribution likely established through the international grass seed trade.

Blind seed has been reported from Australia, including Tasmania, Victoria, and New South Wales (Neill and Hyde 1939, Wade 1949, Anonymous 1955, Wade 1957, Anonymous 1962, McGee 1971a, Munro 1978); Denmark (Noble 1939, Gemmell 1940, Lafferty 1948, Kristensen and Jørgensen 1960); England, including Kent, Sussex, Hereford, and the Isle of Man (Neill and Hyde 1939, Gemmell 1940, Glasscock 1940); Ireland (Gemmell 1940, Lafferty 1948); France (Prillieux and Delacroix 1891, 1892a); The Netherlands (de Tempe 1950, 1966); New Zealand (Gorman 1939; Neill and Hyde 1939; Blair 1947, 1948; Latch 1966; Hampton and Scott 1980a); Northern Ireland (Neill and Hyde 1939; Gemmell 1940; Calvert and Muskett 1944, 1945); Scotland, including Ayrshire and the Shetland Islands (Neill and Hyde 1939, Gemmell 1940, Noble and Gray 1945, Dennis and Gray 1954); Sweden (Neill and Hyde 1939); United States, including Oregon (Fischer 1944, Hardison 1945, Alderman 1988); and Wales (Neill and Hyde 1939).

Worldwide, 56 host species have been reported as susceptible to G. temulenta (table 1). Most hosts are in the subfamily Pooideae, tribes Avenae and Poeae, with heaviest infections reported in the genera Agrostis, Festuca, Lolium, and Poa (Hardison 1962) (table 2). Lolium perenne is widely recognized as susceptible and has been identified as a host from all countries reporting blind seed disease. In the Triticeae, moderate to heavy infections were observed on Psathyrostachys, Pseudoroegneria, and Secale species. Grasses in the Bromeae appear less susceptible, with little to no infection observed among species of Bromus.

In the United States, blind seed disease was found on species of Agrostis, Aira, Alopecurus, Bromus, Cynosurus, Deschampsia, Danthonia, Festuca, Glyceria, Hordeum,Holcus, Lolium, Phleum, and Poa (table 1). Despite the susceptibility of many common grasses in the United States, G. temulenta has been reported only from Oregon. In New Zealand, blind seed was reported on Agrostis, Cynosurus, Festuca, Holcus, Lolium, Poa, and Secale cereale. In Northern Ireland, blind seed was found on Agrostis, Cynosurus, Festuca, Holcus, Lolium, and Poa. Additional host reports include Calamagrostis from Germany, Elytrigia from Norway, and Secale from France and Germany.

Most of these U.S. hosts were reported in a comprehensive host range study by Hardison (1962) (table 1 and table 2). However, there is one discrepancy in the U.S. host range. Fischer (1944) reported G. temulenta on Danthonia californica Boland (subfamily Arundinoideae, tribe Danthoneae). Hardison (1962), however, did not observe infection on D. californica inoculated with G. temulenta under natural or artificial conditions. Additional studies are needed to determine all grasses that are susceptible to G. temulenta and their relative susceptibility.

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United States Department of Agriculture
Agricultural Research Service

The material on this page is in the public domain.

Original posting: October 2001.

Last Modified: 8/12/2016
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