There are four recognized clonal lineages of the pathogen Phytophthora ramorum. The two major lineages present in North America are NA1 and NA2. With a few exceptions, NA1 is found in natural forest ecosystems and nurseries, and NA2 is generally restricted to nurseries. Isolates from the NA1 and NA2 lineages were used to infect rhododendron, camellia, and California bay laurel in detached leaf assays to study the effects of lineage, temperature, and host on pathogenicity and host susceptibility. Isolates within both lineages were highly variable in their ability to form lesions on each host. There was also a tendency toward reduced lesion size in successive trials, suggesting degeneration of isolates over time. Temperature had a significant effect on lesion size, with a response that varied depending on the host and isolate. Phenotypic differences between lineages appear to be heavily influenced by the representation of isolates used, host, and temperature. The importance of temperature, host, and lineage are discussed with respect to disease management, as well as future range expansions and migrations of the pathogen.
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