The pitch canker pathogen Fusarium circinatum has caused devastation to Pinus spp. in natural forests and non-natives in commercially managed plantations.
This has drawn attention to the potential importance of Fusarium species as pathogens of forest trees. In this study, we explored the diversity of Fusarium species
associated with diseased Pinus patula, P. tecunumanii, P. kesiya and P. maximinoi in Colombian plantations and nurseries. Plants displaying symptoms associated with a
F. circinatum-like infection (i.e., stem cankers and branch die-back on trees in plantations and root or collar rot of seedlings) were sampled. A total of 57 isolates were
collected and characterised based on DNA sequence data for the translation elongation factor 1-α and β-tubulin gene regions. Phylogenetic analyses of these data
allowed for the identification of more than 10 Fusarium species. These included F. circinatum, F. oxysporum, species within the Fusarium solani species complex and
seven novel species in the Fusarium fujikuroi species complex (formerly the Gibberella fujikuroi species complex), five of which are described here as new. Selected
isolates of the new species were tested for their pathogenicity on Pinus patula and compared with that of F. circinatum. Of these, F. marasasianum, F. parvisorum and F.
sororula displayed levels of pathogenicity to P. patula that were comparable with that of F. circinatum. These apparently emerging pathogens thus pose a significant risk
to forestry in Colombia and other parts of the world.