A commercial skullcap (Scutellaria lateriflora, family Lamiaceae) crop with wilted and necrotic plants was examined in Washington State in 2008. Three fungal isolates were obtained and identified as Verticillium dahliae based on morphology and sequencing of the internal transcribed spacer DNA region. All three skullcap isolates caused typical Verticillium wilt symptoms on skullcap and two peppermint cultivars. Inoculations of skullcap with the V. dahliae isolates from skullcap and an isolate from peppermint resulted in severe symptoms and a 21 to 78% reduction in aboveground biomass. Isolates from skullcap caused severe symptoms on the susceptible peppermint ‘Black Mitcham’ and reduced yield by up to 82%. One skullcap isolate caused severe symptoms on the moderately resistant ‘Redefined Murray’ in three of four trials and reduced biomass up to 71% compared with noninoculated control plants. The pathogen was recovered from 43 to 69% of skullcap stems from plants inoculated with skullcap or peppermint isolates, and was isolated from 2.5% of seed harvested from skullcap plants inoculated with the peppermint isolate of V. dahliae. This is the first report of V. dahliae infecting skullcap, and the first demonstration of V. dahliae isolates from skullcap and peppermint causing symptoms on both hosts, as well as the seedborne nature of V. dahliae in skullcap.
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