Ophiostoma (genus)

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Fruiting bodies of Ophiostoma novo-ulmi in bark beetle galleries of Scolytus multistriatus on American elm.
Author: Joseph O'Brien (USDA Forest Service)

Ophiostoma Syd. & P. Syd. 1919

The fungi in this genus cause wilt and blue-stain diseases on forest trees and are transmitted by bark and ambrosia beetles or by mites which are carried by these beetles. Economically, the most important species are Ophiostoma novo-ulmi and Ophiostoma ulmi, both causing Dutch elm disease.

The fungi are typically associated with larval galleries of bark beetles, but often also attack the xylem. They form sticky spores which easily attach to the arthropod vector.

For a taxonomic review of the genus see Zipfel et al., 2006. These authors characterize the genus as: "Ascocarps subhyaline to dark brown to black, bases globose; necks straight or flexuous, cylindrical, brown to black; ostiole often surrounded by ostiolar hyphae. Asci 8-spored, evanescent, globose to broadly clavate. Ascospores hyaline, aseptate, cylindrical, lunate, allantoid, reniform, orange section- or pillowshaped, sometimes with a hyaline, gelatinous sheath."

Type species: Ophiostoma piliferum.

The following species are currently entered in the system: