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Puccinia graminis, Triticum Leaf, 400X sec
The stem, black and cereal rusts are caused by the fungus Puccinia graminis and are a significant disease affecting cereal crops. Crop species which are affected by the disease include bread wheat, durum wheat, barley and triticale. The stem rust fungus attacks the parts of the plant which are above ground. Spores that land on green wheat plants form a pustule that invades the outer layers of the stalk. Infected plants produce fewer tillers and set fewer seed, and in cases of severe infection the plant may die. Infection can reduce what is an apparently healthy crop about three weeks before harvest into a black tangle of broken stems and shriveled grains by harvest.