Species of Leptographium are generally characterized by mononematous conidiophores and are commonly associated with bark beetles and weevils. These species are responsible for sapstain and in some cases serious diseases on a range of primarily coniferous trees. In comparison with coniferous trees, the occurrence of Leptographium species on hardwood trees has been poorly studied in Europe. During a survey of ophiostomatoid fungi on various tree species in Norway and Poland, three unusual species, which fit the broader morphological description of Leptographium spp., were found in association with Scolytus ratzeburgi, Dryocoetes alni and Trypodendron domesticum on a variety of hardwoods, and from wounds on Tilia cordata. Phylogenetic analyses of sequence data for three gene regions (ITS2-LSU, β-tubulin, and TEF1-α) showed that these Leptographium species are phylogenetically closely related to each other and form a well-supported lineage that included Grosmannia grandifoliae and Leptographium pruni. The first species could be distinguished from the other Leptographium species based on conidiophores arising from spiral hyphae, chlamydospore-like structures and a hyalorhinocladiella-like synanamorph in culture. The second species differs from the previous one by having distinctly shorter conidiophores and smaller conidia. This species also produces a well-developed sporothrix-like synanamorph with denticulate conidiogenous cells. Based on these unusual morphological characteristics and distinct DNA sequences, these fungi were recognised as new taxa for which the names Leptographium trypodendri sp. nov. and L. betulae sp. nov. are provided. The third group of isolates belonged to Grosmannia grandifoliae, representing the first report of this species outside of the USA. The newly defined G. grandifoliae complex is the first species complex in Leptographium s.l. consisting of only hardwood-infecting species.
Keywords: Bark beetle-associated fungi; Hardwoods; Leptographium betulae; Leptographium trypodendri; Ophiostomatoid fungi.