Unexpected Occurrence of Cladosporium spp. on the Inner Surface of the Spathe of the Titan Arum, Amorphophallus titanum

Ulrike Ruprecht, Stephanie A. Socher, Stefan Dötterl


The air-borne distributed genus Cladosporium Link is globally one of the most common fungal genera. By sequencing the barcode marker ITS, here, we document two taxa belonging to this genus – C. cf. dominicanum Zalar, de Hoog & Gunde-Cimerman and C. halotolerans Zalar, de Hoog & Gunde-Cimerman (C. sphaerospermum Penz complex) – which were detected on the inner surface of the spathe of the titan arum, Amorphophallus titanum (Becc.) Becc. (Araceae). Titan arum holds the record for the largest unbranched inflorescence in the plant kingdom, with a height reaching up to 3 meters. The two identified Cladosporium species are part of a clearly defined fungal layer inside the proximal region of the spathe, surrounding the flower-containing region of the spadix. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first record of a macroscopically visible layer of Cladosporium on a living plant material. Furthermore, this study also discusses why this layer occurs only in a spatially restricted region of the spathe, and the possible consequences that the occurrence of these fungi might have on the development and reproduction of the plant.


plant-associated fungi; fungal layer; largest unbranched inflorescence

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5586/am.563

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