This work is the completion of a series of reports describing the nitrogen-fixing bacterial symbionts of sulla (Hedysarum coronarium L., Leguminosae) and providing the grounds for their proposal as a new taxon. The introduction summarizes a large amount of previous evidence gathered on the physiology, genetics and ecology of such organisms, which have in the past been referred to provisionally as 'Rhizobium hedysari'. Upon adding 16S RNA sequencing, amplified rDNA restriction analysis of the rrn operon, DNA-DNA hybridization homology and analysis of low-molecular-mass RNA species, it is concluded that the group of strains that specifically nodulate sulla consists of a coherent set of isolates that differ from previously described rhizobia to an extent that warrants the constitution of the species boundary. The name Rhizobium sullae sp. nov. is proposed, with isolate 1S123T (=USDA 4950T = DSM 14623T) as the type strain.


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