Phenetic data on 75 strains of and other representative genera of the were collected and analysed using two numerical taxonomic methods. In both methods the same subclusters were recovered. The subclusters, however, were defined at different similarity levels and were classified into clusters of different composition. strains formed a very tight, homogeneous subcluster, completely distinct and readily distinguishable from other and species studied. DNA: DNA hybridizations between and and species were analysed to corroborate the numerical classifications. A good correlation between the numerical and DNA: DNA hybridization analyses was found and provided sufficient evidence for not supporting the previously proposed subspecific taxonomic position of The data clearly showed that is a separate species in its own right. Based on the existence of very high genetic relatedness and high similarities in phenetic characters among strains and the confinement of the pathogen to the state of California, the hypothesis is offered that originated from a single source.


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