When the ovaries of the plant become affected with a peculiar fungus (Claviceps purpurea) they become blackened and distorted, constituting ergot.
Seigle ergote), consisting of the sclerotium (or hard resting condition) of a fungus, Claviceps purpurea, parasitic on the pistils of many members of the Grass family, but obtained almost exclusively from rye, Secale cereale.
In other cases (Hypomyces, Nectria) the perithecia arise on an already mature stroma, while yet more numerous examples can be given (Poronia, Hypoxylon, Claviceps, &c.) where the perithecia originate below the surface of a stroma formed long before.
In many cases the slimy masses of spermatia (Uredineae), conidia (Claviceps), basidiospores (Phallus, Coprinus), &c., emit more or less powerful odours, which attract flies or other insects, and it has been shown that bees carry the flagrant oidia of Sclerotinia to the stigma of Vaccinium and infect it, and that flies carry away the foetid spores of Phallus, just as pollen is dispersed by such insects.
Dematophora necatrix on roots, Calyptospora Goeppertiana on stems, Ustilago Scabiosae in anthers, Claviceps purpurea in ovaries, &c. Associated with these relations are the specializations which parasites show in regard to the age of the host.