Fomitiporia Murill, N. Amer. Fl. (New York) 9(1):7 (1907)



The genus was established by Murrill (1907). The main characters of the genus include resupinate to pileate basidiocarp, hyaline and subglobose to globose, dextrinoid and cyanophilous basidiospores, dimitic hyphal and variable cystidioles and hymenial setae (Chen and Cui 2017). The genus has been divided into two groups based on morphological characters and basidiomata habit. There are species with pileate basidiomata (e.g. F. robusta, F. erecta, F. hippophaeicola) and species sharing resupinate basidiomata (e.g., F. langloisii, F. punctata, F. pseudopunctata) (Campos Santana et al. 2014). Fomitiporia are distributed worldwide and contain approximately 50 taxa plus numerous unidentified species (Vlasák and Kout 2011; Chen and Cui 2017; Morera et al. 2017). Fomitiporia species are pathogens and saprobes on numerous hardwood genera, for example F. mediterranea has been reported as the main agent for the esca-associated white heart rot in Europe and South Africa (Fischer 2002; Fischer and Kassemeyer 2003; Cloete et al. 2014). Fomitiporia australiensis, F. mediterranea, and F. punctata are associated with esca disease of grapevine (Fischer et al. 2005). Amalfi et al. (2012) introduced F. cupressicola as a parasite of living Cupressus arizonica. Disease of the Japanese pear tree (Pyrus pyrifolia var. culta) is caused by F. torreyae (Fukuta et al. 2016). Some species are an important medicinal resource e.g., F. ellipsoidea, F. hartigii, F. punctate and F. robusta (Dai et al. 2010; Zan et al. 2015; Liu et al. 2017).


ClassificationAgaricomycetes, Incertae sedis, Hymenochaetales, Hymenochaetaceae

Type speciesFomitiporia langloisii Murill, N. Amer. Fl. (New York) 9(1):7(1907)

Distribution – Worldwide

Disease Symptoms – Esca disease

            The initial symptoms occur on leaves as malformation and dwarfism (Fukuta et al. 2016). Dark red or white stripes occur as the foliar symptom of this disease and become yellow. Symptomatic leaves can dry completely and premature defoliation can occur. Small, circular, dark spots with a brown-purple border can be seen on fruits (Cortesi 2000). Shoots and twigs die as the damage expands to the trunk. From a cross section of the trunks and large branches, light/white coloured, rotted center, surrounded by brown hard necrotic wood can be observed (Elena et al. 2018). When the disease becomes severe, decaying of the tree can be observed (Fukuta et al. 2016).

Hosts – Occurs on many important plant families including Asteraceae, Fabaceae, Lamiaceae, Lauraceae, Moraceae, Myrtaceae, Oleaceae, Sapindaceae, Rosaceae and Vitaceae (Rajchenberg and Robledo 2013; Cloete et al. 2015)

Morphological based identification and diversity

Fiasson and Niemelä (1984) redefined Fomitiporia punctata (P. Karst.) Murrill as the representative of the genus and considered F. langloisii Murrill as a synonym of Fomitiporia punctata (P. Karst.) Murrill. However, later F. langloisii was re-established as the type species based on phylogenetic analysis and herbarium studies (Decock et al. 2007). Identification of Fomitiporia has been difficult and the species were problematic and in need of clarification. The generic status of the genus was confirmed by Fischer (1996) and Dai (1999). Multi-locus phylogenetic analysis (LSU + ITS + TEF1-α + RPB2) combined with traditional characters were used to re-examine the classification of the genus (Amalfi et al 2012; Chen and Cui 2017; Morera et al. 2017). Similarity of morphological characters, multi-gene phylogenetic approach and geographical distribution have been used to resolve classification problems in this genus. Recently, five species Fomitiporia alpina B.K. Cui & Hong Chen, F. gaoligongensis B.K. Cui & Hong Chen, F. hainaniana B.K. Cui & Hong Chen, F. subrobusta B.K. Cui & Hong Chen and F. subtropica B.K. Cui & Hong Chen were introduced from China and F. impercepta Morera, Robledo & Urcelay was described from Argentina based on multi-gene phylogenetic analysis and morphological characterization (Chen and Cui 2017; Morera et al. 2017). In addition, Liu et al. (2018) reported F. rhamnoides T. Z. Liu & F. Wu. a novel species from China. There are 81 Fomitiporia names listed in Index Fungorum (2018), however, some of them are synonyms and some were transferred to other taxa based on phylogenetic evidence. For example F. dryophila Murrill, F. earleae Murrill, F. jamaicensis Murrill, F. laminate Murrill, F. langloisii Murrill, F. lloydii Murrill., F. maxonii Murrill, F. obliquiformis Murrill and F. tsugina Murrill were synonymized under F. punctata (P. Karst.) Murrill. Fomitiporia ellipsoidea B.K. Cui & Y.C. Dai was transferred to Phellinus ellipsoideus (Cui and Decock 2013). Some species have been rearranged into Fomitiporia; example.g., Phellinus rosmarini Bernicchia has been recombined as Fomitiporia rosmarini (Bernicchia) Ghobad-Nejhad & Y.C. Dai (Ghobad-Nejhad and Dai 2007), while Phellinus spinescens J.E. Wright & G. Coelho was recombined as F. spinescens (J.E. Wright & G. Coelho) G. Coelho, Guerrero & Rajchenb. Phellinus uncinatus Rajchenb was transferred as F. uncinata (Rajchenb.) G. Coelho, Guerrero & Rajchenb. (Coelho et al 2009).

Basidiocarp and basidiospore characters can be used to identify this genus. However, due to inconsistency, cystidioles and hymenial setae cannot be used in species identification (Chen and Cui 2017; Liu et al. 2018). Therefore, use of DNA sequence data is crucial.

Molecular based identification and diversity

Classification of the genus was neglected for a long-time as Fomittiporia was considered a synonym of Phellinus (Núñez and Ryvarden analysis, Fomitiporia was confirmed to be a homogeneous genus within the Hymenochaetaceae (Zhou and Xue 2012). Recently, based on phylogenetic evidence, new species of Fomitiporia have been described and new combinations have been made into the genus (Fischer 2002; Fischer and Binder 2004; Decock et al. 2005, 2007; Fischer et al. 2005; Dai et al. 2008; Dai and Cui 2011; Amalfi et al. 2010, 2012; Zhou and Xue 2012; Amalfi and Decock 2014; Cloete et al. 2014; Campos-Santana et al. 2014; Chen et al. 2016a; Vlasak and Vlasak 2016; Li et al 2016; Chen and Cui 2017, Morera et al. 2017, Liu et al. 2018). Single gene and multigene phylogenies demonstrated that Fomitiporia is a monophyletic group (Wagner and Fischer 2001, 2002; Fischer 2002; Fischer and Binder 2004, Fischer et al. 2005, Decock et al. 2005, 2007, Larsson et al. 2006, Amalfi and Decock 2014, Campos-Santana et al. 2014). In this study we provide a phylogenetic tree based on multi-locus phylogenetic analysis (LSU + ITS + TEF1-α + RPB 2). Sequences of F. rhamnoides could not be analysed as they are unavailable in Genbank. The results from this study provide a similar topology to those obtained by Chen and Cui (2017). There is still a need for a better marker to provide better resolution in this genus.

Recommended genetic markers (Genus level) – ITS

Recommended genetic markers (Species level) – LSU, ITS, TEF1- α, RPB2

Accepted number of species: There are 81 species epithets in Index Fungorum (2018) under this genus. However, only 50 are accepted, but sequence data are only available for 46 species.

References: Fischer 2002, Fischer et al. 2005, Campos-Santana et al. 2014, Chen and Cui 2017, Morera et al. 2017 (morphology and phylogeny), Rajchenberg and Robledo 2013, Elena et al. 2018 (morphology, phylogeny and pathogenicity).

Table  Fomitiporia. Details of the isolates used in the phylogenetic analyses. Ex-type (ex-epitype) strains are in bold and marked with an * and voucher strains are in bold.

Species Isolate LSU ITS TEF1-α RPB2
Fomitiporia aethiopica MUCL 44777* AY618204 GU478341 GU461893 JQ087956
F. alpina Dai 15735 KX639645 KX639627 KX639664 KX639680
F. apiahyna MUCL 51451 GU461997 GU461963 GU461896 JQ087958
F. atlantica FLOR 58554 KU557526 KU557528
F. australiensis

MUCL 49406

GU462001 AY624997 GU461897 JQ087959
F. baccharidis MUCL 47756 JQ087913 JQ087886 JQ087940 JQ087993
F. bakeri FP-134784-Sp JQ087901 JQ087874 JQ087928 JQ087960
F.bannaensis MUCL 45926 EF429217 GU461942 GU461898 JQ087961
F. calkinsii MUCL 51095 KF444708 KF444685 KF444754 KF444731
F. capensis MUCL 53009 JQ087917 JQ087890 JQ087944 JQ087997
F. castilloi MUCL 53481* JQ087916 JQ087889 JQ087943 JQ087996
F. cupressicola MUCL 52486* JQ087904 JQ087877 JQ087931 JQ087965
F. deserticola PRM 934073 KT381632
F. dryophila TJV-93-232 EF429221 EF429240 GU461902 JQ087969
F. erecta MUCL 49871 GU461976 GU461939 GU461903 JQ087971
F. expansa MUCL 55026 KJ401032 KJ401031 KJ401033 KJ401034
F. fissurata PRM922626 KT381627
F. gabonensis MUCL 47576* GU461990 GU461971 GU461923 JQ087972
F. gaoligongensis Cui 8261 KX639642 KX639624 KX639663 KX639678
F. hainaniana CL06-372 KX639654 KX663826 KX639660
F. hartigii MAFF 11–20016 JQ087909 JQ087882 JQ087936 JQ087975
F. hippophaëicola MUCL 31746 AY618207 GU461945 GU461904 JQ087976
F. impercepta CORDC00005289 MF615266 MF615298
F. ivindoensis MUCL 51312* GU461978 GU461951 GU461906 JQ087979
F. langloisii MUCL 46375 EF429225 EF429242 GU461908 JQ087980
F. maxonii MUCL 46017 EF429230 EF433559 GU461910 JQ087983
F. mediterranea MUCL 45670 GU461980 GU461954 GU461913 JQ087985
F. neotropica MUCL 51335* KF444721 KF444698 KF444771 KF444744
F. nobilissima MUCL 51289* GU461984 GU461965 GU461920 JQ087987
F. norbulingka Cui 9770 KU364430 KU364420 KU364433
F. pentaphylacis Yuan 6012 JQ003901 JQ003900 KX639671 KX639683
F. polymorpha MUCL 46166 DQ122393 GU461955 GU461914 JQ087988
F. pseudopunctata MUCL 51325 GU461981 GU461948 GU461916 JQ087998
F. punctata MUCL 34101 AY618200 GU461947 GU461917 JQ088000
F. punicata Cui 23 GU461991 GU461974 GU461927 JQ088002
F. robusta CBS 389.72 JQ087919 JQ087892 JQ087946 JQ088004
F. sonorae MUCL 47689 JQ087920 JQ087893 JQ087947 JQ088006
F. subhippophaëicola Cui 12096 KU364426 KU364421 KU364437
F. subrobusta Dai 13576 KX639635 KX639617 KX639655 KX639672
F. subtilissima FURB47557 KU557527 KU557531 KU557532 KU557533
F. subtropica Cui 9122 KX639640 KX639622 KX639661 KX639677
F. tabaquilio MUCL 46230 DQ122394 GU461940 GU461931 JQ088008
F. tenuis MUCL 44802* AY618206 GU461957 GU461934 JQ088010
F. tenuitubus Dai 16204 KX639637 KX639619 KX639657 KX639674
F. texana MUCL 47690 JQ087921 JQ087894 JQ087948 JQ088013
F. torreyae MUCL 47628 JQ087923 JQ087896 JQ087950 JQ088015
F. tsugina MUCL 52702 JQ087925 JQ087898 JQ087952 JQ088017
F. rhamnoides Dai 18091 MH234392 MH234389
Phellinus uncisetus (out group) MUCL 46231 EF429235 GU461960 GU461937 JQ088020







Fig.  Phylogenetic tree generated by maximum Parsimony analysis of combined nLSU, ITS, TEF1-α and RPB2 sequence data of Fomitiporia species. Related sequences were obtained from GenBank. Forty five strains are included in the analyses, which comprise 3836 characters including gaps. Tree was rooted with Phellinus uncisetus (MUCL 46231). The maximum parsimonious dataset consisted of 2537 constant, 841 parsimony-informative and 458 parsimony-uninformative characters. The parsimony analysis of the data matrix resulted in the maximum of six equally most parsimonious trees with a length of 3416 steps (CI = 0.511, RI =0.598, RC = 0.305, HI = 0.489) in the first tree. Bayesian posterior probabilities and MP bootstrap values ≥50% are shown respectively near the nodes. The scale bar indicates 10 changes. The ex-type strains are in bold.

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