Oospores of Phytophthora ramorum were produced from intraspecific pairings between a European A1 and European or American A2 strains. Their viability was evaluated through colouration with tetrazolium bromide. The distribution of oospores in the different classes of colouration was similar to that found in other Phytophthora species (homothallic and heterothallic): most of the oospores stained purple, which corresponds to spores in dormancy. In order to produce single-oospore cultures, a method was developed to separate oospores from mycelium and chlamydospores. Germination of oospores was observed in 110, 250, 350 and 500-d-old cultures at a low proportion. Microsatellite marker analyses on oospore progenies revealed that the oospores resulted from hybridisation. More than 50 oospore progenies were characterised in terms of mating type, aggressiveness on Rhododendron leaves, and growth rate on two different media. The results are discussed in the context of pest risk analysis. (C) 2010 The British Mycological Society. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.