Rapanea melanophloeos, an important canopy tree in Afromontane forests,
is commonly utilised for medicinal bark harvesting. Wounds created from these
activities provide entrance for many fungi, including arthropod-associated members
of the Ophiostomatales and Microascales (ophiostomatoid fungi). In this study we
assess the diversity of wound-associated Ophiostomatales on storm-damaged R.
melanophloeos trees in the Afromontane forests of South Africa. Five species were identified based on micro-morphological and molecular phylogenetic analyses. These
included Ophiostoma stenoceras and four newly described taxa Sporothrix itsvoense
sp. nov., S. rapaneae sp. nov., S. utae sp. nov. and O. noisomeae sp. nov. Four of
these are members of the S. schenckii-O. stenoceras complex (O. stenoceras, S.
itsvoense sp. nov., S. rapaneae sp. nov., S. utae) while O. noisomeae groups basal in
the Ophiostomatales alongside the S. lignivora complex and Graphilbum. In addition
to other taxa known from this host, the present study shows that there is a rich, yet
still poorly explored, diversity of Ophiostomatales associated with R. melanophloeos
in Afromontane forests. More taxa are likely to be discovered with increased research
effort. These must be assessed in terms of pathogenicity towards this ecologically and
economically important tree.