Phoma exigua is considered to be an assemblage of at least nine varieties that are mainly distinguished on the basis of host specificity and pathogenicity. However, these varieties are also reported to be weak pathogens and secondary invaders on non-host tissue. In practice, it is difficult to distinguish P. exigua from its close relatives and to correctly identify isolates up to the variety level, because of their low genetic variation and high morphological similarity. Because of quarantine issues and phytosanitary measures, a robust DNA-based tool is required for accurate and rapid identification of the separate taxa in this species complex. The present study therefore aims to develop such a tool based on unique nucleotide sequence identifiers. More than 60 strains of P. exigua and related species were compared in terms of partial actin gene sequences, or analysed using DNA amplification fingerprinting (DAF) with short, arbitrary, mini-hairpin primers. Fragments in the fingerprint unique to a single taxon were identified, purified and sequenced. Alignment of the sequence data and subsequent primer trials led to the identification of taxon-specific sequence characterized amplified regions (SCARs), and to a set of specific oligonucleotide combinations that can be used to identify these organisms in plant quarantine inspections.