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Ascospores of Zopfia rhizophila
Ascospores of Zopfia rhizophila (holotype specimen).
Image Credit: Pedro Crous
Ascospores of Zopfia rhizophila
Ascospores of Zopfia rhizophila (holotype specimen).
Image Credit: Pedro Crous

Zopfia rhizophila is a type species of the genus Zopfia, which has been classified in the family Zopfiaceae (Dothideomycetes). Although not much is known about its ecology, it is usually found associated with roots of Asparagi radicibus in Europe and the USA. It causes root rot when plants are weakened or wounded. It spreads slowly in the rhizome, but moves rapidly in roots, where dark cankers are formed on which the fungus sporulates. The disease is commonly referred to as Zopfia root rot of asparagus.

Ascomata are large, thick-walled, solitary, superficial and partially erumpent at the basal, carbonaceous, black, globose, rounded at above, non-ostiolate, breaking on top of ascomata to release ascospores at maturity. Peridium thick, comprising two-layered, outer layer composed of pigmented of textura angularis, inner layer composed of hyaline thin-walled cells of textura angularis. Hamathecium, pseudoparaphyses, numerous, septate, anastomosing, hyaline, with embedded in a gelatinous matrix. Asci 8-spored, bitunicate, globose or saccate, dissolves at maturity, narrowly pedicellate. Ascospores medianly 1-septate, oblong to ellipsoid, hyaline or pale brown when immature, with umbonate ends, constricted and dark at the septum, smooth–walled or slightly roughened, becoming dark brown or completely black at maturity.