Fungal Diversity

, 50:227 | Cite as

Poplar rust systematics and refinement of Melampsora species delineation

  • Agathe Vialle
  • Pascal Frey
  • Sarah Hambleton
  • Louis Bernier
  • Richard C. HamelinEmail author


We present a review of previous taxonomic treatments of the Melampsora species occurring on poplar and describe the features associated with each spore stage in a typical poplar rust life cycle. The morphological, biological and ecological characters traditionally used for taxonomy are summarized for all Melampsora taxa, including 17 accepted species, 2 formae speciales and 2 hybrids, currently listed in the literature as pathogenic on Populus spp. We discuss the historical taxonomic decisions that led to nomenclatural and classification complications for this group of rusts, and highlight the lack of type material for three species known only from the original collections: M. cumminsii, M. multa, and M. osmaniensis. Even when all the traditional features are considered, the taxonomy of Melampsora poplar rust species remains uncertain and incomplete. An overview of recent molecular studies suggests the need for a comprehensive revision of species concepts, based on phylogenetic relationships. To that end, we propose a polyphasic approach, including the Genealogical Concordance Phylogenetic Species Recognition method, be used to build robust and meaningful systematic framework for the Melampsora poplar rusts.


Melampsora Populus Taxonomy Systematics Species definition Rust 



The authors thank Nick Harby, herbarium assistant from the Arthur Herbarium of Purdue University (PUR), Dr. Amy Rossman from the U.S. National Fungus Collection (BPI), Pierre DesRochers from the René-Pomerleau Herbarium of Natural Resources Canada (QFB) and Professor Makoto Kakishima from the Mycological Herbarium of the Institute of Agriculture and Forestry of the University of Tsukuba (TSH) for kindly providing important herbarium specimens; Dr. Philippe Tanguay from Natural Resources Canada for providing constructive comments on the manuscript; and the anonymous reviewer for his critical reading of the manuscript and his recommendations. This research was supported through funding to the Canadian Barcode of Life Research Network from Genome Canada through the Ontario Genomics Institute, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, and other sponsors listed at, and from a Natural Resources Canada’s Canadian Biotechnology Regulatory Strategic fund.


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Copyright information

© Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Agathe Vialle
    • 1
    • 2
  • Pascal Frey
    • 3
  • Sarah Hambleton
    • 4
  • Louis Bernier
    • 2
  • Richard C. Hamelin
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Natural Resources Canada, Canadian Forest Service, Laurentian Forestry CentreQuébecCanada
  2. 2.Centre d’étude de la forêt (CEF) and Institut de Biologie Intégrative et des Systèmes (IBIS)Université LavalQuébecCanada
  3. 3.INRA, Nancy-Université, UMR1136 Interactions Arbres - MicroorganismesChampenouxFrance
  4. 4.Agriculture and Agri-Food CanadaOttawaCanada

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