A new Phytophthora pathogen of trees and shrubs, previously informally designated Phytophthora taxon C, is formally named here as P. kernoviae. P. kernoviae was discovered in late 2003 during surveys of woodlands in Cornwall, south-west England, for the presence of another invasive pathogen, P. ramorum. P. kernoviae is self-fertile (homothallic), having plerotic oogonia, often with distinctly tapered stalks and amphigynous antheridia. It produces papillate sporangia, sometimes markedly asymmetric with medium length pedicels. Its optimum temperature for growth is ca 18 °C and upper limit ca 26 °. Currently, P. kernoviae is especially noted for causing bleeding stem lesions on mature Fagus sylvatica and foliar and stem necrosis of Rhododendron ponticum. P. kernoviae is the latest of several invasive tree Phytophthoras recently identified in the UK. Its geographical origins and the possible plant health risk it poses are discussed.
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