Co-occurring species of Teratosphaeria on Eucalyptus
A common leaf spot disease occurring on Eucalyptus cladocalyx and E. lehmannii in the Western Cape Province of South Africa is known from literature to be caused by the fungus Coniothyrium ovatum, which is a pathogen native to several eucalypts in Australia. Recent collections have shown that Australian material identified as C. ovatum is morphologically and phylogenetically distinct from the South African specimens, and that all these taxa would be better accommodated in the genus Teratosphaeria. South African specimens previously identified as C. ovatum were found to represent two species that co-occur in the same leaves and even spots and are described here as T. juvenalis and T. verrucosa. Furthermore, a fresh collection of T. ovata from E. phoenicea in Australia, is distinguished morphologically and phylogenetically from similar, newly described taxa such as T. veloci on E. miniata, and Readeriella dimorpha, which is also placed in Teratosphaeria. Although these leaf pathogens appear to be of minor economic importance, they are morphologically similar to two serious eucalypt canker pathogens, namely T. gauchensis and T. zuluensis, which predominantly cause stem cankers, but could also be found occurring in leaf spots on their own, or in association with some of the other species treated here. Further research is, therefore, required to develop molecular detection techniques for these taxa to enable researchers to rapidly distinguish the minor pathogens from the more serious quarantine pathogens that co-occur on leaves.
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Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: 2009-06-30
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