In 2012, cleared floral organs of Mead's milkweed, a federally threatened species, were found to contain fungal hyphae. All fresh flowers (n = 10) collected and analyzed from Rockhill Prairie (Missouri) contained Metschnikowia spp., Cladosporium cladosporiodes, Alternaria spp., Thanatephorus sp., Aspergillus sp., and Cryptococcus sp. Of the ten fresh flowers collected from the Anderson County Prairie Preserve (Kansas), 90% (n = 10) of the flowers contained fungi, including C. cladosporiodes, Alternaria spp., and Metschnikowia spp. A dried stem collected from the Anderson County Prairie Preserve revealed the presence of Fusarium spp., Alternaria spp., Metschnikowia sp., Lewia infectoria, Stemphylum solani, and Filobasidium floriforme. In addition, we analyzed pinned insects (n = 13) captured previously over a three-year period. These insects were all caught while they foraged on flowers of A. meadii. The fungal genus, Alternaria, was the only fungal taxa isolated at least once from our samples of flowers, dried stems, and some anthophilous insects.
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Vol. 35 • No. 4