Botryosphaeria lutea (anamorph Fusicoccum luteum) most easily is distinguished from other Botryosphaeria spp. by a yellow pigment that is formed in young cultures. This fungus has been reported from a number of cultivated hosts in New Zealand and Portugal. During a survey of Botryosphaeria fungi that occur on native Acacia species in Australia, a yellow pigment was observed in some cultures. These isolates were morphologically similar to B. lutea, but the pigment differed slightly from the one formed by authentic B. lutea isolates. Preliminary data also revealed small differences in ITS rDNA sequence data. The aim of this study was to determine whether these small differences were indicative of separate species or merely variations within B. lutea. Anamorph, teleomorph and culture morphology were compared between B. lutea and Acacia isolates from Australia. Sequence data of two other genome regions, namely the β-tubulin and EF1-α gene and intron regions, were combined with ITS rDNA sequence data to determine the phylogenetic relationship between these isolates. Isolates of B. lutea and those from Australian Acacia species were not significantly different in spore morphology. The yellow pigment, however, was much more distinct in cultures of B. lutea than in cultures from Acacia. There were only a few base pair variations in each of the analyzed gene regions, but these variations were fixed in the two groups in all regions. By combining these data it was clear that B. lutea and the isolates from Acacia were distinct species, albeit very closely related. We, therefore, propose the new epithet B. australis for the fungus from Australia. Botryosphaeria australis also was isolated in this study from exotic Sequoiadendron trees in Australia. Re-analyses of GenBank data in this study showed that B. australis also occurs on other native Australian hosts, namely a Banksia sp. and a Eucalyptus sp., as well as a native Protea sp. in South Africa and on Pistachio in Italy. These records from GenBank have been identified previously as B. lutea. The common occurrence of B. australis on a variety of native hosts across Australia suggests that this fungus is native to this area.
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