The Mycosphaerella complex is both poly- and paraphyletic, containing several different families and genera. The genus Mycosphaerella is restricted to species with Ramularia anamorphs, while Septoria is restricted to taxa that cluster with the type species of Septoria, S. cytisi, being closely related to Cercospora in the Mycosphaerellaceae. Species that occur on graminicolous hosts represent an as yet undescribed genus, for which the name Zymoseptoria is proposed. Based on the 28S nrDNA phylogeny derived in this study, Zymoseptoria is shown to cluster apart from Septoria. Morphologically species of Zymoseptoria can also be distinguished by their yeast-like growth in culture, and the formation of different conidial types that are absent in Septoria s.str. Other than the well-known pathogens such as Z. tritici, the causal agent of septoria tritici blotch on wheat, and Z. passerinii, the causal agent of septoria speckled leaf blotch of barley, both for which epitypes are designated, two leaf blotch pathogens are also described on graminicolous hosts from Iran. Zymoseptoria brevis sp. nov. is described from Phalaris minor, and Z. halophila comb. nov. from leaves of Hordeum glaucum. Further collections are now required to elucidate the relative importance, host range and distribution of these species.
Keywords: Hordeum vulgare, ITS, LSU, multilocus sequence typing, Mycosphaerella, Septoria, systematics, Triticum aestivum