Fungal endophytes play important roles in vascular plants, especially for grass relatives and species in extreme habitats. We investigated the presence and diversity of endophytic fungi within healthy leaves of Tillandsia recurvata (Bromeliaceae), a widespread neotropical epiphyte in the plant order Poales. Microscopy confirmed the presence of fungal tissues in situ and subculturing yielded seven distinct fungal morphotypes. Standard barcode sequences for nuc rDNA ITS1‐5.8S‐ITS2 (ITS) classified five of seven as Sordariomycetes and indicated cryptic diversity within five different isolates of the most prevalent morphotype. Phylogenetic analysis of partial ITS and ϐ-tubulin (TUB2) sequences reinforced taxonomic classification and distance-based analyses. Overall, the results support previous evidence that epiphytic bromeliads host diverse fungal endophytes, including undescribed taxa, which collectively differ from the predominately claviciptaceous fungal endophytes of grasses and their close relatives. Given the unique nutritional biology and stress resistance of T. recurvata, their fungal endophytes may represent physiologically important mutualists.
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