Tilletia caries

(A.P. de Candolle) L.-R. & C. Tul.

SORI (sr) in ovaries, consist of a reddish brown to dark brown, semi-agglutinated to powdery spore conglomeration.



SPORES (s) globose to subglobose, (14-)16-20(-25) µm diam, pale yellow to reddish brown.

Wall ornamented with a polygonal reticulum consisting of ridges 2.5 µm wide and 0.5-1.5 µm high. The spores germinate by formation of an aseptate basidium, at the top of which 8-16 elongate basidiospores develop. The basidiospores fuse to produce a dikaryotic mycelium capable of either infecting host seedling coleoptiles or producing secondary basidiospores.

PLANT HOST AND DISTRIBUTION. Tilletia caries affects many plant species of different genera of the family Poaceae (Vanky 1994).

The fungus has a worldwide distribution.

NOTES. Tilletia caries causes bunt or stinking smut of wheat.

Tilletia caries overwinters in the form of spores on seeds of the plant host (Smith at al. 1988). In soil without the host, the spores can survive for a few weeks only.

The spores germinate simultaneously with the seeds and the seedlings are susceptible until their coleoptiles split. When the primary leaves protrude, the seedlings become immune.


Smith I. M., Dunez J., Lelliott R. A., Phillips D. H., Archer S. A. 1988. European handbook of plant diseases. Blackwell Scientific Publications.

Vanky K. 1994. European smut fungi. Gustav Fischer Verlag. Stuttgard-Jena-New York, 570 pp.