Botryosphaeriaceae as potential pathogens of Prunus species in South Africa, with descriptions of Diplodia africana and Lasiodiplodia plurivora sp. nov.
Botryosphaeriaceae are common dieback and canker pathogens of woody host plants, including stone fruit trees. In the present study the diversity of members of the Botryosphaeriaceae isolated from symptomatic wood of Prunus species (plum, peach, nectarine and apricot) was determined in stone fruit-growing areas in South Africa. Morphological and cultural characteristics as well as DNA sequence data (5.8S rDNA, ITS-1, ITS-2 and EF-1a) were used to identify known members and describe novel members of Botryosphaeriaceae. From the total number of wood samples collected (258) 67 isolates of Botryosphaeriaceae were obtained, from which eight species were identified. All species were associated with wood necrosis. Diplodia seriata (= "Botryosphaeria" obtusa) was dominant, and present on all four Prunus species sampled, followed by Neofusicoccum vitifusiforme and N. australe. First reports from Prunus spp. include N. vitifusiforme, Dothiorella viticola and Diplodia pinea. This is also the first report of D. mutila from South Africa. Two species are newly described, namely Lasiodiplodia plurivora sp. nov. from P. salicina and Diplodia africana sp. nov. from P. persica. All species, except Dothiorella viticola, caused lesions on green nectarine and/or plum shoots in a detached shoot pathogenicity assay. © 2007 by The Mycological Society of America.