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First Report of Sclerotinia Stem Rot and Death of Osteospermum spp. Hybrid Cultivars Caused by Sclerotinia sclerotiorum in Louisiana



First Report of Sclerotinia Stem Rot and Death of Osteospermum spp. Hybrid Cultivars Caused by Sclerotinia sclerotiorum in Louisiana



Plant Disease 89(8): 911



Osteospermum spp. Hybrids, belong to Asteraceae, commonly called African daisy or cape daisy with over 214 named cultivars, are popular flowering plants grown as winter landscape plants in southern Louisiana. During January of 2005, plants growing in a wholesale nursery using polyethylene-film-covered greenhouses were observed with symptoms of wilt that began with tan stem lesions and progressed to stem rot, wilt, and plant death. Plants had been purchased out-of-state as rooted cuttings and transplanted to a commercial bark potting mix in 11.4-cm (4.5-in.) plastic pots. Signs of fungal infection included the presence of white cottony mycelium and black sclerotia. Disease incidence was 50% on cv. Soprano White but less than 1% among the four other cultivars being grown (Ostica Blue Eye, Ostica Pink, Lemon Symphony, and Soprano Purple). Differences in disease incidence among cultivars may have been due to differences in susceptibility since all were grown on the same greenhouse bench. Sclerotinia sclerotiorum was consistently isolated from sections of diseased stems that had been surfaced disinfested (30 to 60 s in 70% ethyl alcohol) and placed on acidified potato dextrose agar. Inoculum for pathogenicity tests consisted of mixed mycelia and sclerotia that had been grown on twice-sterilized wheat grain for 14 days. Ten flowering-age Osteospermum sp. plants of cv. Soprano White were inoculated with 1 g of inoculum placed at the base of each plant. One group of five plants was kept in a dew chamber at 22°C for 40 h after which they were removed to a greenhouse. The second group of five plants was placed in a single, plastic bag with the top left open and kept in the greenhouse. Ten noninoculated plants of the same cultivar served as controls with five kept in the dew chamber for 40 h and the other five held in a plastic bag in the greenhouse. Inoculated plants that had been held in the dew chamber developed stem lesions and rot after 2 days, wilted permanently after 5 days, and were desiccated and dead by day 7. Inoculated plants held in the bag in the greenhouse followed a similar disease development pattern but did not show wilt symptoms until 8 days after inoculation and were dead after 12 days. White cottony mycelium and black sclerotia developed on stems and at the base of all inoculated plants. S. sclerotiorum was reisolated from inoculated diseased plants. All noninoculated control plants remained disease free. An outbreak of this disease was previously reported on Osteospermum spp. planted along highways in southern California (1). To our knowledge, this is the first report of the disease in Louisiana and the first report of its occurrence in greenhouse production of Osteospermum spp. Reference: (1) H. S. Gill. Plant Dis. Rep. 59:82, 1975.

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Accession: 066515181

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