Polymorphic sequence-characterised marker assays from a recent diversity study on the Ascomycete fungus Ophiostoma quercus reported that some isolates from Africa were genetically distinct from O. quercus. In the present study, these
African isolates were compared with authentic
O. quercus isolates by evaluating morphological
characters, growth in culture, mating compatibility and DNA sequence data. The isolates from Africa were morphologically similar to O. quercus, presenting Pesotum and Sporothrix synanamorphs in culture. Phylogenetic analyses of the ribosomal internal transcribed spacer regions 1 and 2, b-tubulin and translation elongation factor 1-a gene regions confirmed that the African group represents a distinct species within the hardwood lineage of the O. piceae
complex, closely related to O. ulmi and O. himalulmi. Mating studies between O. quercus and the African isolates showed that isolates mated predominantly with those of their own group, although there were rare cases of fertile crosses between the groups. Isolates residing in the African lineage are described here as a new species, O. tsotsi sp. nov.