Multiple Didymella teleomorphs are linked to the Phoma clematidina morphotype.
The fungal pathogen Phoma clematidina is used as a biological agent to control the invasive plant species Clematis vitalba in New Zealand. Research conducted on P. clematidina as a potential biocontrol agent against C. vitalba, led to the discovery of two perithecial-forming strains. To assess the diversity of P. clematidina and to clarify the teleomorph-anamorph relationship, phylogenetic analyses of 18 P. clematidina strains, reference strains representing the Phoma sections in the Didymellaceae and strains of related species associated with Clematis were conducted. Partial sequences of the ITS1, ITS2 and 5.8S rRNA gene, the β-tubulin gene and 28S rRNA gene were used to clarify intra- and inter-species relationships. These analyses revealed that P. clematidina resolves into three well-supported clades which appear to be linked to differences in host specificity. Based on these findings, Didymella clematidis is newly described and the descriptions of P. clematidina and D. vitalbina are amended.