Although Nectria is the type genus of Nectriaceae (Hypocreales, Sordariomycetes, Pezizomycotina, Ascomycota), the systematics of the teleomorphic and anamorphic state of Nectria sensu Rossman has not been studied in detail. The objectives of this study are to 1) provide a phylogenetic overview to determine if species of Nectria with Gyrostroma, Tubercularia, and Zythiostroma anamorphs form a monophyletic group; 2) define Nectria, segregate genera, and their species using morphologically informative characters of teleomorphic and anamorphic states; and 3) provide descriptions and illustrations of these genera and species.
To accomplish these objectives, results of phylogenetic analyses of DNA sequence data from six loci (act, ITS, LSU, rpb1, tef1 and tub), were integrated with morphological characterisations of anamorphs and teleomorphs. Results from the phylogenetic analyses demonstrate that species previously regarded as the genus Nectria having Gyrostroma, Tubercularia, and Zythiostroma anamorphs belong in two major paraphyletic clades.
The first major clade regarded as the genus Pleonectria contains 26 species with ascoconidia produced by ascospores in asci, perithecial walls having bright yellow scurf, and immersed or superficial pycnidial anamorphs (Zythiostroma = Gyrostroma). A lineage basal to the Pleonectria clade includes Nectria miltina having very small, aseptate ascospores, and trichoderma-like conidiophores and occurring on monocotyledonous plants. These characteristics are unusual in Pleonectria, thus we recognise the monotypic genus Allantonectria with Allantonectria miltina.
The second major clade comprises the genus Nectria sensu stricto including the type species, N. cinnabarina, and 28 additional species. Within the genus Nectria, four subclades exist. One subclade includes species with sporodochial anamorphs and another with synnematous anamorphs.
The other two paraphyletic subclades include species that produce abundant stromata in which the large perithecia are immersed, large ascospores, and peculiar anamorphs that form pycnidia or sporodochia either on their natural substrate or in culture.
In this study the evolution of species, morphology, and ecology of the three genera, Allantonectria, Nectria, and Pleonectria, are discussed based on the phylogenetic analyses. In addition, descriptions, illustrations, and keys for identification are presented for the 56 species in Allantonectria, Nectria, and Pleonectria.
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