Plant Parasites of Europe

leafminers, galls and fungi

Fusarium graminearum

Fusarium graminearum Schwabe 1839

Fusarium head blight

on Poaceae

Fusarium graminearum on Zea mays

Zea mays, Hungary, Halászi, 20.ix.2014 © László Érsek

Fusarium graminearum on Zea mays


Fusarium graminearum on Triticum aestivum

Triticum aestivum, Hungary, Kimle, © László Érsek: the pale sections of the ears are diseased

Fusarium graminearum on Triticum aestivum


Fusarium graminearum on Triticum aestivum

The fine orange lines, mainly over the veins, are sporodochia, where conidia are formed

Fusarium graminearum: sporodochium

two orange sporodochia

Fusarium graminearum: sporodochium

microphoto of a sporodochium with conidia (photo derived from Wikipedia)


The fungus infects the young ears and from there invades the complete plant body. Infected fruits become malformed and are aborted. Mainly on the ribs of the spikelets orange sporodochia develop: mats of hyphae and conidiophores were sickle-shaped conidia are formed that cause multiple reinfections. Later in the year pycnidia are formed on the plant and, after the harvest, on the remaining stubbles. This is the teleomorph, where along a sexual process ascospores are formed the infect the plants in the following spring.
The fungus not only causes much damage by a severe crop loss, but also produces some highly active mycotoxines that may make the the grass dangerous to eat for cattle.

host plants

Poaceae, broadly oligophagous

Agrostis; Arrhenatherum elatius; Avena sativa; Calamagrostis epigeios; Dactylis glomerata; Hordeum vulgare; Triticum aestivum, turgidum subsp. durum; Zea mays.


The teleomorph is known as Gibberella zeae (Schweinitz) Petch, 1936. According to the Index Fungorum (2018) Fusarium graminearum is the valid name.


Brandenburger (1985a: 847), Ellis & Ellis (1997a), Ruszkiewicz-Michalska (2006a), Schmale III & Bergstrom (2018a), Trail (2009a).

Last modified 4.iv.2022