Names of Phytopathogenic Fungi: A Practical Guide

Pedro W. Crous, Amy Y. Rossman, M. Catherine Aime, W. Cavan Allen, Treena Burgess, Johannes Z. Groenewald, Lisa A. Castlebury

Research output: Contribution to journal/periodicalArticleScientificpeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)


Using the correct name for phytopathogenic fungi and oomycetes is essential for communicating knowledge about species and their biology, control, and quarantine as well as for trade and research purposes. However, many plant pathogenic fungi are pleomorphic, meaning they produce different asexual (anamorph) and sexual (teleomorph) morphs in their life cycles. Therefore, more than one name has been applied to different morphs of the same species, which has confused users. The onset of DNA technologies makes it possible to connect different morphs of the same species, resulting in a move to a more natural classification system for fungi in which a single name for a genus and species can now be used. This move to a single nomenclature, coupled with the advent of molecular systematics and the introduction of polythetic taxonomic approaches, has been the main driving force for a reclassification of fungi, including pathogens. Nonetheless, finding the correct name for species remains challenging. In this article we outline a series of steps or considerations to greatly simplify this process and provide links to various online databases and resources to aid in determining the correct name. Additionally, a list of accurate names is provided for the most common genera and species of phytopathogenic fungi. Copyright © 2021 The Author(s). This is an open access article distributed under the CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 International license.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1500-1508
Number of pages9
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 25 Oct 2021


  • DNA barcoding
  • dual nomenclature
  • fungal pathogens
  • International Code of Nomenclature
  • phylogeny
  • polyphasic identification
  • systematics


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