Canadian Forest Service Publications
First Report of Phoma exigua as a Pathogen of Salal (Gaultheria shallon) in British Columbia, Canada. 2005. Shamoun, S.F.; Zhao, S. Plant Disease 89: 685.
Issued by: Pacific Forestry Centre
Catalog ID: 25422
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Salal (Gaultheria shallon Pursh.) is an ericaceous, evergreen, and rhizomatous shrub that competes for nutrients and moisture with young conifers in low elevation, coastal British Columbia (BC). A survey was conducted on southern Vancouver Island, BC during the summer of 1999 to find fungal pathogens of salal that might serve as biocontrol organisms (3). Phoma exigua Desmaz. (isolate PFC2705) near Parksville, BC proved to be pathogenic on salal. Identification of PFC2705 at the Centraalbureau voor Schimmelcultures was based on morphology and ITS sequences (GenBank Accession No. AY927784). Pathogenicity was determined with 24 salal seedlings (3-month-old) by inoculating with mycelial suspensions (20% v/v) or conidial suspensions (1 Å~ 10(^6) conidia per ml in 0.5% potato dextrose broth). Inoculated seedlings were placed in plastic bags and incubated in a greenhouse (16 to 23°C with natural light). Plastic bags were removed after 2 days. Initial disease symptoms were observed 2 days after inoculation. Brown, sunken lesions appeared on the surface of young leaves and stems and extended quickly. All seedlings were killed within 14 days. Twelve control plants showed no disease symptoms. With diseased salal leaves incubated at 23°C with 12-h fluorescent light/dark and 100% relative humidity, pycnidia appeared on leaf surfaces within 5 days. Conidia were hyaline, ellipsoid, one-celled, sometimes two- to three-celled, 2.5 to 3.8 Å~ 5 to 12.5 µm, with a rounded base; the colony was gray or dark gray on potato dextrose agar after 5 to 7 days. Reisolation from the inoculated diseased leaves produced a mycelial colony that shared the same growth and morphological characteristics as the initial isolate. Phyllosticta gaultheriae Ellis & Everh., a widely reported foliar pathogen of salal, is distinct morphologically from P. exigua (1). To our knowledge, this is the first report of P. exigua as a pathogen of salal in Canada (2). A voucher specimen has been deposited at the Pacific Forestry Center Herbarium (DAVFP No. 28735).