Mundkurella heptapleuri is a host specific smut fungus which produces a systemic infection on Schefflera venulosa (syn. Heptapleurum venulosum, Araliaceae) (Vánky 1990). It develops sori in the fruits, stems, petioles, and leaves of. The host plant, S. venulosa, is endemic to India, with distribution restricted to South India.
The smut fungus, M. heptapleuri, is collected only once, in 1942, found on a tree in the Lalbagh Botanical Garden, Bangalore, Karnataka State (Thirumalachar 1944). However, the infected tree, from which the collection was done, was felled (Vánky 2007, 2011).
Due to the fact that Mundkurella heptapleuri is described from a country with intensive mycological investigations, and particularly, with three published monographs of the smut fungi (Mundkur & Thirumalachar 1952; Vánky 2007; Gandhe 2011), we can assume that from 1944 onwards enough attempts have been made for finding additional localities of this remarkable fungus (cf. Sharma 2012). Before this species can be evaluated as extinct, there must be explicit evidence of unsuccessful searches on host trees. In the meantime, we assume that no more than fifty smutted trees still occur in the wild. The smut fungus fulfills D-criterion and meets CR.
Preliminary red-list assessment: CR D (Critically Endangered)
Mundkurella heptapleuri is collected only once, in 1942, found on a tree in the Lalbagh Botanical Garden, Bangalore, Karnataka State, India. However, the infected tree, from which the collection was done, was felled.
There is no specific information on population size or trends. It is impossible to state anything about trends based on observations from a single spot.
Population Trend: Decreasing
Mundkurella heptapleuri is a smut fungus which develops sori in the fruits, stems, petioles, and leaves of Schefflera venulosa, an Indian endemic tree species, distributed only in South India. The fungus is host-specific and depends on its host plant.
The infected tree, from which the only collection was done, was felled.
Further search of a new locality of this species must be encouraged.
Gandhe, R.V. 2011. Ustilaginales of India. Bishen Singh Mahendra Pal Singh, Dehra Dun, India.
Mundkur, B.B. and Thirumalachar, M.J. 1952. Ustilaginales of India. C.M.I., Kew.
Sharma, N.D. 2012. Smut Fungi of the World. Book review. Current Science 102: 1316–1318.
Thirumalachar, M.J. 1944. A new genus of smuts. Mycologia 36: 591–597.
Vánky, K. 1990. The genus Mundkurella (Ustilaginales). Mycological Research 94: 269–273.
Vánky, K. 2007. Smut fungi of the Indian Subcontinent. Polish Botanical Studies 26: 1–265.
Vánky, K. 2011. Smut Fungi of the World. APS Press, St. Paul, Minnesota, USA.
Denchev, C.M. & Denchev, T.T. 2015. Mundkurella heptapleuri Thirum. In: The Global Fungal Red List Initiative. http://iucn.ekoo.se/iucn/species_view/288459/.