Phytophthora species isolated from alpine and sub-alpine regions of Australia, including the description of two new species; Phytophthora cacuminis sp. nov and Phytophthora oreophila sp. nov
Plant deaths had been observed in the sub-alpine and alpine areas of Australia. Although no detailed aetiology was established, patches of dying vegetation and progressive thinning of canopy suggested the involvement of root pathogens. Baiting of roots and associated rhizosphere soil from surveys conducted in mountainous regions New South Wales and Tasmania resulted in the isolation of eight Phytophthora species; Phytophthora cactorum, Phytophthora cryptogea, Phytophthora fallax, Phytophthora gonapodyides, Phytophthora gregata, Phytophthora pseudocryptogea, and two new species, Phytophthora cacuminis sp. nov and Phytophthora oreophila sp. nov, described here. P. cacuminis sp. nov is closely related to P. fallax, and was isolated from asymptomatic Eucalyptus coccifera and species from the family Proteaceae in Mount Field NP in Tasmania. P. oreophila sp. nov, was isolated from a disturbed alpine herbfield in Kosciuzsko National Park. The low cardinal temperature for growth of the new species suggest they are well adapted to survive under these conditions, and should be regarded as potential threats to the diverse flora of sub-alpine/alpine ecosystems. P. gregata and P. cryptogea have already been implicated in poor plant health. Tests on a range of alpine/subalpine plant species are now needed to determine their pathogenicity, host range and invasive potential.