Sporisorium Ehrenb. ex Link


Sporisorium sorghi Ehrenb. ex Link on Sorghum vulgare Pers.


Anthracocystis Bref.


Sori replacing florets or inflorescences of Poaceae, covered by a peridium formed of fungal elements overlain by host tissue.

Columella present, composed of host tissues permeated by hyphae that produce spores and sterile cells (partitioning cells).

Spores in permanent or in ±loose spore balls, when mature often solitary, brown, without violet tints.

Sterile cells in groups or chains, sometimes lacking, hyaline, mixed with the spore balls or spores.

Spore germination of Ustilago-type.

Host-parasite interaction by intracellular hyphae coated by an electron-opaque matrix.

Septa poreless at maturity.


The delimitation of Sporisorium from Ustilago and some related genera is not clear as the morphological characters used to separate species is dependent on both the anatomy and morphology of the host (Holton et al., 1968) as well as being highly variable or convergent (Vánky, 1998). Stoll et al. (2003, 2005) used DNA sequence analysis to characterise three major phylogenetic groups, viz. a Sporisorium-group, a Ustilago s. lat.-group and a monophyletic assemblage of both Sorisorium and Ustilago species. Stoll et al. (2005) demonstrated that the Sporisorium group was monophyletic and could be divided into two major subgroups, Sporisorium 1 and Sporisorium 2, together with a smaller assemblage around Ustilago maydis. Stoll et al. (2005) further observed that Sporisorium subgroup 1 almost exclusively parasitised grasses in the supertribe Andropogonodae, whereas Sporisorium subgroup 2 mostly parasitised the panicoid superfamilies Andropogonodae and Panicodae. However, no morphological or ecological character has yet been found that separates the two Sporisorium subgroups.

Further research is required to resolve the classification of grass-infecting smut fungi that have been placed in Sporisorium and related genera. Sporisorium currently comprises about 320 species; 81 species are known from Australia, including 28 that are endemic.

Species in Australia
Sporisorium aegyptiacum
Sporisorium andropogonis
Sporisorium aristidicola
Sporisorium australasiaticum
Sporisorium benguetense
Sporisorium centrale
Sporisorium chudeaui
Sporisorium confusum
Sporisorium consanguineum
Sporisorium dinteri
Sporisorium doidgeae
Sporisorium erythraeense
Sporisorium exsertiformum
Sporisorium exsertum
Sporisorium fraserianum
Sporisorium gibbosum
Sporisorium hainanae
Sporisorium inayati
Sporisorium incompletum
Sporisorium ischaemi-rugosi
Sporisorium iseilematis-ciliati
Sporisorium iseilematis-vaginiflori
Sporisorium lanigeri
Sporisorium lepturi
Sporisorium lingii
Sporisorium melinidis
Sporisorium mitchellii
Sporisorium modestum
Sporisorium moniliferum
Sporisorium nervosum
Sporisorium ophiuri
Sporisorium panici
Sporisorium polycarpum
Sporisorium porosum
Sporisorium queenslandicum
Sporisorium rarum
Sporisorium reilianum
Sporisorium ryleyi
Sporisorium sahayai
Sporisorium sehimicola
Sporisorium simile
Sporisorium sorghi
Sporisorium tenue
Sporisorium themedae
Sporisorium vanderystii
Sporisorium vermiculum
Sporisorium wynaadense

Key based on host taxonomy
On BothriochloaSporisorium amphilophis
On CapillipediumSporisorium andropogonis-micranthi
On Chionachne1
1.  Spores 10.5-14.5 µm long, minutely echinulateSporisorium reilianum
Spores 8-10.5 µm long, prominently echinulateSporisorium simile
On ChrysopogonSporisorium chudeaui
On CymbopogonSporisorium lanigeri
On CynodonSporisorium incompletum
On DichanthiumSporisorium sahayai
On DigitariaSporisorium gibbosum
On EnneapogonSporisorium modestum
On EulaliaSporisorium rarum
On EremochloaSporisorium polycarpum
On HemarthriaSporisorium lepturi
On Heteropogon1
1.  Spore balls ephemeral, spore wall evenSporisorium andropogonis
Sori in all ovaries, spore balls looseSporisorium moniliferum
On HyparrheniaSporisorium vanderystii
On Ischaemum1
1.  Sori in all spikelets of an inflorescence. Spores 8-10 um longSporisorium hainanae
Sori in the whole inflorescence. Spores 11-13.5 um longSporisorium ischaemi-rugosi
On Iseilema1
1.  The fungus produces witches' broomsSporisorium iseilematis-ciliati
The fungus does not produce witches' brooms2
2.  Sori in the spikelets of some racemes of an inflorescenceSporisorium inayati
Sori in all of the racemes3
3.  Spores 9-13.5 µm longSporisorium mitchellii
Spores 10.5-16(-17.5) µm longSporisorium iseilematis-vaginiflori
On MelinisSporisorium melinidis
On MnesitheaSporisorium erythraeense
On PaspalidiumSporisorium panici
On RottboelliaSporisorium ophiuri
On Sarga1
1.  Sori destroying the entire inflorescence2
Sori in the spikelets3
2.  Sorus >70 mm longSporisorium vermiculum
Sorus <20 mm longSporisorium porosum
3.  Spores darker on one sideSporisorium wynaadense
Spores not darker on one side43
4.  Spores 4.5-6.5 (-7.0) µm longSporisorium ryleyi
Spores 8-11 µm long, with a light germ poreSporisorium australasiaticum
On SchismusSporisorium aegyptiacum
On Sehima1
1.  Sori destroying the whole inflorescenceSporisorium queenslandicum
Sori restricted to the spikelets 2
2.  Spore balls ephemeral; sterile cells presentSporisorium sehimicola
Spore balls rather persistent; sterile cells absentSporisorium nervosum
On Sorghum1
1.  Spores darker on one sideSporisorium wynaadense
Spores not darker on one side2
2.  Sori in the whole inflorescenceSporisorium reilianum
Sori in the spikeletsSporisorium sorghi
On Themeda1
1.  Columella branched2
Columella simple, unbranched4
2.  Spores 6-9.5 µm long3
Spores 8-12 µm longSporisorium lingii
3.  Spore wall thin, 0.5-0.8 µmSporisorium exsertum
Spore wall thick, 1.5-2.5 µmSporisorium exsertiformum
4.  Spores 7-11 µm long, punctateSporisorium centrale
Spores larger, verrucose-echinulate5
5.  Spores 9.5-12 µm longSporisorium themedae
Spores largerSporisorium benguetense
On VetiveriaSporisorium chudeaui
On ZeaSporisorium reilianum