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Ascomycota A phylum of fungi, formerly classified as a class (Ascomycetes) or a subdivision (Ascomycotina). It includes the yeasts, some species of edible fungi, and Claviceps purpurea, which causes ergot in rye. Many are fungal partners of lichens. Sexual reproduction is by means of ascospores produced within an ascus. The asci are usually grouped together in an ascocarp.