Mycological Progress

, Volume 8, Issue 3, pp 221–236 | Cite as

Delimitation of Ophiostoma quercus and its synonyms using multiple gene phylogenies

  • Joha W. Grobbelaar
  • Dilzara N. Aghayeva
  • Z. Wilhelm de Beer
  • Paulette Bloomer
  • Michael J. Wingfield
  • Brenda D. Wingfield
Original Article


Ophiostoma quercus is a morphologically variable species that causes sapstain on mostly hardwood hosts worldwide. Several species have been suggested as synonyms of O. quercus in the past, including O. fagi, O. roboris, O. valachicum, O. kubanicum, and O. catonianum. A recent collection of isolates resembling O. quercus from Azerbaijan provided the opportunity to reconsider the accuracy of these synonymies based on morphology and DNA sequence data. Four gene regions, the ribosomal internal transcribed spacer regions including the 5.8 s gene, part of the β-tubulin gene, translation elongation factor-1α, and histone gene, were used to determine the phylogenetic relationships between the various species and isolates of different origin. In all four resulting phylogenetic trees, isolates of O. quercus, O. fagi, and O. roboris formed a single, well-supported cluster, but with some internal variation. All the other species in the analyses, including O. piceae and O. catonianum, grouped distinctly with good node support. These results thus support the synonymy of O. fagi and O. roboris with O. quercus, and confirm that O. piceae and O. catonianum are distinct taxa. Ophiostoma valachicum and O. kubanicum could not be considered due to the absence of cultures, but based on published descriptions, we argue that O. valachicum should be regarded as a valid species in need of neotypification. Ophiostoma kubanicum was never validly described and should be excluded from the list of synonyms of O. quercus.


Internal Transcribe Spacer Azerbaijan Histone Gene Monte Carlo Markov Chain Search Ribosomal Internal Transcribe Space Region 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We are deeply grateful to our colleagues and curators of herbaria for supplying cultures and specimens without which this study could not have been undertaken. We thank Dr Danut Chira of the Forest Research and Management Institute (ICAS), Romania, for providing us with literature and the English translation of the species diagnoses of O. roboris from Romania, and Dr Hugh Glen and Prof J.P. van der Walt for their helpful advice concerning Latin grammar. We also thank Mr Chris van der Merwe of the Laboratory for Microscopy and Microanalysis, School of Physical Sciences, University of Pretoria, who assisted us with scanning electron microscopy. We are indebted to Dr Thomas Kirisits for advice on an earlier draft of the manuscript. We thank Dr Ursula Heiniger, Swiss Federal Institute and the SCOPES Programme 2000-2003 (Scientific Co-operation Programme between Eastern Europe and Switzerland, Swiss National Research Foundation, Grant: 7CO 064552) for support. We also acknowledge members of the Tree Protection Cooperative Programme (TPCP), Centre for Tree Health Biotechnology (CTHB), the National Research Foundation (NRF), and the THRIP initiative of the Department of Trade and Industry, South Africa for financial assistance.


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Copyright information

© German Mycological Society and Springer 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Joha W. Grobbelaar
    • 1
  • Dilzara N. Aghayeva
    • 2
  • Z. Wilhelm de Beer
    • 3
  • Paulette Bloomer
    • 1
  • Michael J. Wingfield
    • 1
  • Brenda D. Wingfield
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of GeneticsUniversity of PretoriaPretoriaSouth Africa
  2. 2.Institute of Botany, ANASBakuRepublic of Azerbaijan
  3. 3.Department of Microbiology and Plant Pathology, Forestry and Agricultural Biotechnology Institute (FABI)University of PretoriaPretoriaSouth Africa

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