The genus name Phyllosticta has been used in several senses. The most common use was as the “stem inhabiting” counterpart of the “leaf inhabiting” Phoma. Since these species have few obvious morphological differences (i.e. most have one celled, small, colorless conidia) naming of species was often based on the host on which it was found. However, leaf versus stem inhabiting isn’t useful taxonomically, species are not host specific and there are a number of species that look similar but in fact differ in subtle ways. Some of the “Phyllosticta” species are in fact Ascochyta, the endophytic Phomopsis, or the often pathogenic Fusicoccum. A revision of the species described in Phyllosticta guides the user to the correct name that communicates information about the organism including bibliographic details of type, substrate, and origin. Over 2,900 names are treated in this book: 203 in Phyllosticta, and 2,733 species with information about their current placement.
Van der Aa spent much of his life studying the true Phyllosticta which is the anamorph of the often endophytic and sometimes pathogenic genus Guignardia. Because so many of the Phyllosticta names did not fit into that sense of the genus and because most of the latter are non-descript, the genus was ripe for restudy and clarification. In so doing the authors have given us a way to obtain information on these species through the older names and glean information about them from the current name.
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