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SUMMARY

Phytophthora ramorum is an oomycete plant pathogen classified in the kingdom Stramenopila. P. ramorum is the causal agent of sudden oak death on coast live oak and tanoak as well as ramorum blight on woody ornamental and forest understorey plants. It causes stem cankers on trees, and leaf blight or stem dieback on ornamentals and understorey forest species. This pathogen is managed in the USA and Europe by eradication where feasible, by containment elsewhere and by quarantine in many parts of the world. Genomic resources provide information on genes of interest to disease management and have improved tremendously since sequencing the genome in 2004. This review provides a current overview of the pathogenicity, population genetics, evolution and genomics of P. ramorum.

Taxonomy: Phytophthora ramorum (Werres, De Cock & Man in't Veld): kingdom Stramenopila; phylum Oomycota; class Peronosporomycetidae; order Pythiales; family Pythiaceae; genus Phytophthora.

Host range:  The host range is very large and the list of known hosts continues to expand at the time of writing. Coast live oak and tanoak are ecologically, economically and culturally important forest hosts in the USA. Rhododendron, Viburnum, Pieris, Syringa and Camellia are key ornamental hosts on which P. ramorum has been found repeatedly, some of which have been involved in moving the pathogen via nursery shipments.

Disease symptoms: P. ramorum causes two different diseases with differing symptoms: sudden oak death (bleeding lesions, stem cankers) on oaks and ramorum blight (twig dieback and/or foliar lesions) on tree and woody ornamental hosts.