Japanese spiraea (Spiraea japonica L.f.), belonging to Rosaceae, is widely planted for its ornamental value in China. Since July 2011, powdery mildew infections on leaves and stems of Japanese spiraea have been noticed in some parks and gardens of Chengyang District in Qingdao City, China (GPS coordinates 36°31′04.22″ N, 120°39′41.92″ E). Symptoms first appeared as white spots covered with mycelium on both side of the leaves and young stems. As the disease progressed, abundant mycelial growth covered the whole shoots and caused growth reduction and leaf distortion with or without reddening. A voucher specimen was deposited in the herbarium of Qingdao Agricultural University (Accession No. HMQAU13013). Hyphae were flexuous to straight, branched, septate, 5 to 7 μm wide, and had nipple-shaped appressoria. Conidiophores arising from the upper surface of hyphal cells produced 2 to 5 immature conidia in chains with a crenate outline. Foot-cells of conidiophores were straight, 60 to 125 × 7 to 9 μm, and followed by 1 to 2 shorter cells. Conidia were ellipsoid-ovoid to doliiform, measured 25 to 32 × 12 to 15 μm with a length/width ratio of 1.8 to 2.6, and had distinct fibrosin bodies. Chasmothecia were not found. The structures and measurements were compatible with the anamorphic state of Podosphaera spiraeae (Sawada) U. Braun & S. Takam. as described before (1). The identity of HMQAU13013 was further confirmed by analysis of nucleotide sequences of the internal transcribed spacer (ITS) regions amplified using the primers ITS1/ITS4 (4). The resulting 564-bp sequence was deposited in GenBank (Accession No. KF500426). A GenBank BLAST search of complete ITS sequence showed 100% identity with that of P. spiraeae on S. cantoniensis (AB525940). A pathogenicity test was conducted through inoculation by gently pressing a diseased leaf onto five healthy leaves of a potted Japanese spiraea. Five non-inoculated leaves served as controls. The plants were maintained in a greenhouse at 22°C. Inoculated leaves developed typical symptoms of powdery mildew after 5 days, but the non-inoculated leaves remained symptomless. The fungus presented on the inoculated plant was morphologically identical to that originally observed on diseased plants, fulfilling Koch's postulates. Powdery mildew of S. japonica caused by P. spiraeae has been recorded in Japan, Poland, and Switzerland (2,3). To our knowledge, this is the first report of powdery mildew caused by P. spiraeae on Japanese spiraea in China.
References: (1) U. Braun and R. T. A. Cook. Taxonomic Manual of the Erysiphales (Powdery Mildews), CBS Biodiversity Series No.11. CBS, Utrecht, 2012. (2) D. F. Farr and A. Y. Rossman. Fungal Databases, Systematic Mycology and Microbiology Laboratory, ARS, USDA. Retrieved from http://nt.ars-grin.gov/fungaldatabases/ September 10, 2013. (3) T. Kobayashi. Index of Fungi Inhabiting Woody Plants in Japan. Host, Distribution and Literature. Zenkoku-Noson-Kyoiku Kyokai Publishing Co. Ltd., Tokyo, 2007. (4) S. Matsuda and S. Takamatsu. Mol. Phylogenet. Evol. 27:314, 2003.