Neofusicoccum illicii Y. Zhang ter., M. Zhang sp. nov., MycoBank number: MB 819397

Etymology : named after the host from which it was isolated, Illicium verum.

Ascomata not observed. Conidiomata stromatic, produced on pine needles on SNA within 14 d, solitary or in groups covered by mycelium, dark brown to black, 2/3–3/4 erumpent, ellipsoidal or spherical, 250–350 μm diam. Paraphyses not observed. Conidiophores reduced to conidiogenous cells. Conidiogenous cells holoblastic, hyaline, smooth-walled, cylindrical or claviform, sometimes forming a periclinal thickening, (9–) 10.5–13 (–16) × (2–) 2.6–3.1 (–3.5) μm. Conidia hyaline, thin walled, granular cytoplasm, broadly to narrowly fusiform, or nearly cylindrical, sometimes slightly curved, base truncate or sometimes node-like, initially non-septate, subsequently becoming 1–3-septate and pale yellow, (22–) 23.7–27.1 (–30) × (5–) 6.1–7.9 (–9) μm (av. of 30 conidia = 25.4 ± 1.2 × 7 ± 0.8 μm, L/W ratio = 3.6), usually constricted at the main septum. Spermatia not observed.

Cultural characteristics : Colonies on MEA grey-white (surface) and buff to light primrose (reverse), sometimes not reaching the edge of the plate, with a dense mat of aerial mycelium, covering a 30 mm Petri dish in 3 days, the margin crenulated irregularly.

Specimens examined : CHINA, Guangxi province, from healthy tissue of Illicium verum, 7 Sept. 2012, L. Wang (holotype: HMAS 266205; cultures ex-holotype: CGMCC 3.18310; CGMCC 3.18311; CGMCC 3.18312; CGMCC 3.18313).

Notes : Phylogenetically, N. illicii is sibling to all other species of Neofusicoccum, and basal to the clade comprising N. algeriense, N. batangarum, N. brasillense, N. cordaticola, N. grevilleae, N. kwambonambiense, N. occulatum, N. parvum, N. ribis, N. sinense and N. umdonicola (Fig. 1). Morphologically, the large conidia of N. illicii differentiate this species from N. algeriense, N. batangarum, N. occulatum, N. parvum, N. umdonicola and N. sinense (Crous et al. 2006, Pavlic et al. 2008, Begoude et al. 2010, Sakalidis et al. 2011, Berraf-Tebbal et al. 2014). The septate aged conidia with L/W radio of N. illicii are most comparable with N. grevilleae, while the small condiomata (< 200 μm) of N. grevilleae (Crous et al. 2011) differentiate it from N. illicii.

FIG 2Neofusicoccum illicii (from holotype: HMAS 266205). A Conidiomata developing on pine needles in culture; B, C Conidiogenous cells with developing conidia; D Hyaline, aseptate conidia with a node-like base; E Hyaline, aseptate conidia; F  Yellowish, 1–3-septate, senescent conidia. Scale bars: A = 250 μm, B–F = 10 μm.