Euphorbia pekinensis Rupr, the Peking spurge, is a perennial grass that is planted throughout northeast China. Its roots can be used as a Chinese medicine for diuretic or purgative purposes. Some diterpenoids isolated from Euphorbia spp. show strong antitumor, antivirus, skin-irritating, and tumor-promoting activities. Some species contain chemicals that can be used as pesticides. In September and October 2009, spurge plants were seriously infected by powdery mildew fungi in Changchun Agri-Expon, Jilin Province, China. White mildew colonies appeared in early autumn and initial colonies coalesced to cover the entire upper sides of leaves, stems, and petals 3 to 4 weeks after the disease was noticed. Until late October, chasmothecia were observed on leaves and stems and the infected areas also became dark brown. Mycelium was amphigenous, in patches, white, and persistent. Conidia with distinct fibrosin bodies were ellipsoid-cylindrical, 21.6 to 33.8 × 12 to 15.6 μm, and produced in chains. Germ tubes arose near a pole of the conidia and terminated in simple, unlobed apices. Conidiophores were 59.8 to 139.9 μm; foot cells were straight to slightly flexuous, followed by one to three cells, and 24 to 48 × 8.4 to 10.8 μm. Hyphal appressoria were papillate. Chasmothecia were 70 to 95 μm in diameter, averaging 79.4 μm, and were immersed in mycelia. Mycelioid appendages (5 to 12) occurred in the lower part of the chasmothecia and were flexuous, curved, thick walled, and strongly undulate. Appendages were long (349-) 490 to 1,000 (-1,300) μm, averaging 759.4 μm. They were often densely crowded around the chasmothecia. Asci were single, sessile or short stalked, 60 to 80 × 45 to 70 μm, and eight spored. Ascospores were ellipsoid-ovoid and 16.8 to 28.8 × 10.8 to 18 μm. The fungus was identified as Podosphaera euphorbiae-helioscopiae on the basis of morphological characteristics of the anamorphic and teleomorphic stages. An herbarium specimen was deposited in the Herbarium of Mycology of Jilin Agriculture University (CJLCC100). Genomic DNA was extracted from the chasmothecia, and the internal transcribed spacer region (ITS) and the D1/D2 domains of the 28S rDNA were amplified and sequenced (GenBank Nos. JF795490 and JF795491). The ITS sequence has 98% identity with those of Podosphaera lini, P. macularis, and P. spiraeae, and the D1-D2 sequence of 28S rDNA has 99% identity with those of P. negeri and P. spiraeae, which indicated that this fungus belongs to the genus Podosphaera, even though there is no direct sequence evidence that it is P. euphorbiae-helioscopiae. P. euphorbiae-helioscopiae has only been previously reported in Japan (2), occurring on Euphorbia helioscopia. This species is unique because of the long and curved, thick-walled appendages, and there is no comparable species (1). P. euphorbiae-hirtae and P. euphorbiae are reported to infect Euphorbiaceae plants. Both species differ from P. euphorbiae-helioscopiae in their conspicuously shorter appendages (1,3). To our knowledge, this is the first reported occurrence of powdery mildew on E. pekinensis, and P. euphorbiae-helioscopiae is new to China. This is also the first description of the anamorph of the fungus since there is no record in the Erysiphales Database.
References: (1) U. Braun. Nova Hedwigia 89:1, 1987. (2) Y. Nomura. Taxonomical Study of Erysiphaceae of Japan. Yokendo LTD, Tokyo, 1997. (3) R. Y. Zheng and Y. N. Yu. Flora Fungorum Sinicorum. Vol. 1. Erysiphales. Science Press, Beijing, 1987.
Get ALL the Latest Updates for ICPP2018: PLANT HEALTH IN A GLOBAL ECONOMY. Follow APS!