A native of mostly tropical environments, it commonly grows on dead plants, soil, wood, and especially the dead leaves and grasses of livestock fodder. Pithomyces chartarum produces sporidesmin (a piperazinedione), a mycotoxin known to cause animal liver damage, and it causes facial eczema in cattle, sheep, and goats. For humans, it is considered a possible allergen, and a potential infectious agent in immunocompromised patients.

Not known to be prolific indoors, this mold can sometimes be found on paper. It exhibits distinctive multi-celled brown conidia.

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