Phytophthora (genus)

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Phytophthora nicotianae symptoms on tobacco roots
Source: Clemson University - USDA Cooperative Extension Slide Series - IPM Images
Phytophthora palmivora sporangia
Author(s): Fred Brooks, University of Hawaii at Manoa
Source: IPM Images

Phytophthora de Bary (1876)

Phytophthora is an important genus of plant pathogenic oomycetes, containing a number of species which cause destructive diseases like late blight of potatoes or sudden oak death. These include rots and damping-off diseases, less frequently mildew-type infections. The species are either soilborne and infect the root system first or airborne, infecting primarily the leaves. However, the infections quickly invade other parts of the host, often causing plant death. Wet, moist and warm conditions promote the pathogens which easily disperse in water (e.g. rain splashes, irrigation or flood water).

The most common asexual reproductive organs are sporangia which are typically lemon-shaped or egg-shaped and produce zoospores. Many species also produce chlamydospores. Sexual reproduction and the formation of oospores is also known from most species. Phytophthora species can be homothallic (self-fertile) or heterothallic, requiring the contact between mating type A1 and mating type A2 for sexual reproduction. In some species homothallic as well as heterothallic strains are known.

Type species: Phytophthora infestans

Peronophythora spp.

Currently, the following species have been entered into the system: