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Claviceps purpurea
Claviceps purpurea
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Fungi
Division: Ascomycota
Subdivision: Pezizomycotina
Class: Sordariomycetes
Order: Hypocreales


Clavicipitaceae is a family of fungi within the order Hypocreales. Molecular phylogenetic analysis of multigene DNA sequence data indicates that the taxon, Clavicipitaceae, consists of several clades, at least one of which is shared with members of another fungal family (Hypocreaceae). The evolution within the Clavicipitaceae is marked by interkingdom host jumping, and the range of this large and heterogeneous fungal group spans mutualistic plant symbionts as well as parasites of plants, insects, and other fungi.[1]

Many of its members produce alkaloids toxic to animals and humans. One of its most infamous species is Claviceps purpurea, which has historical significance as the cause of St. Anthony's Fire, also known as ergotism. Ergotism is caused by ergot alkaloids, such as ergotamine and ergocristine, which are chemical derivatives of lysergic acid.

The following genera belong to the Clavicipitaceae:

Teleomorphic genera (having a known sexual cycle)

Anamorphic genera (having no known sexual cycle):


  1. Spatafora JW, Sung GH, Sung JM, Hywel-Jones NL, White JF Jr. (2007). "Phylogenetic evidence for an animal pathogen origin of ergot and the grass endophytes". Mol. Ecol. 16: 1701–1711. PMID 17402984.
  • C.J. Alexopolous, Charles W. Mims, M. Blackwell et al., Introductory Mycology, 4th ed. (John Wiley and Sons, Hoboken NJ, 2004) ISBN 978-0-471-52229-4