• alder decline;
  • Phytophthora polonica;
  • elongation factor 1α;
  • β-tubulin;
  • mitochondrial DNA;
  • phylogenetic analysis


In a survey of Phytophthora associated with alder decline in Poland, several isolates of a homothallic Phytophthora sp., which could not be assigned to other taxa including Phytophthora alni subspecies, were consistently recovered from rhizosphere soil samples. Their morphology and pathogenicity, as well as sequence data for three nuclear regions (internal transcribed spacer rDNA, elongation factor-1α and β-tubulin) and a coding mitochondrial DNA region (nadh1), were examined. The new Phytophthora species is characterized by the moderate to slow growth rate of its colony in carrot agar at 20°C, high optimal (c. 30°C) and maximum (c. 38°C) growth temperatures, formation of catenulate, often lateral, hyphal swellings, large chlamydospores in agar media and in soil extract, persistent, ovoid to ellipsoid nonpapillate sporangia and large oogonia with paragynous and sometimes amphigynous antheridia. Phytophthora polonica was slightly pathogenic to alder twigs and not pathogenic to trunks of several tree species. In a phylogenetic analysis using either Bayesian inference or maximum likelihood methods, P. polonica falls in clade 8 ‘sensu Kroon et al. (2004)’ of Phytophthora.