Danish Institute of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Ornamentals, Kirstinebjergvej 10, DK-5792 Årslev, Denmark
Norwegian Crop Research Institute, Plant Protection Centre, Fellesbygget, 1432 Ås, Norway
Phytophthora cinnamomi was isolated from varieties of Hedera helix pot plants in 1989 in two Danish greenhouse nurseries. The symptoms were brown, rotten roots and stems, and brown areas developing from the base of the leaves. The fungus was isolated directly from roots, stems, leaves, and soil, and by baiting the nutrient solutions of the watering systems with needles of Cedrus deodara. The fungus was isolated on Phytophthora selective agar medium containing hymexazol and identified with the keys of Kröber (1) and Stamps et al. (2). The fungus was characterized by coralloid hyphal swellings, chlamydospores, lack of oogonia in single culture, and production of numerous, ovoid sporangia with a nonpapillate, wide pore. The sporangia produced many zoospores after 2 days flooding with autoclaved pond water on V8 juice agar, followed by internal proliferation. The fungus was also isolated in Norway in 1993 from ivy pot plants. The fungus was widespread in Danish and Norwegian pot plant nurseries in 1997 and caused losses in most varieties, especially at temperatures above 23°C. Effective fungicides are not available for use in Denmark and the disease is easily spread with cuttings, and through the watering system with recirculation of the nutrient solution. A Danish isolate of P. cinnamomi originating from roots of H. helix was used in a pathogenicity test. Five-week-old cuttings were inoculated by adding zoospores (5 per ml) to the recirculating nutrient solution. Control plants were on a separate bench with nutrient solution without the fungus. After 1 week, symptoms of root rot were observed, and 2 weeks after inoculation, 75% of plants expressed severe symptoms on roots, stems, and leaves. P. cinnamomi was reisolated from roots, stems, and leaves of diseased plants, but was not isolated from the control plants. The reisolate was morphologically identical to the original isolate. This is the first report of P. cinnamomi from ivy in Europe.
References: (1) H. Kröber. Mitt. Biol. Bundesanst. Land Forstwirtsch. Berlin-Dahlem 225:73, 1985. (2) D. J. Stamps et al. 1990. Mycol. Pap. No. 162. CAB Int. Mycol. Inst., Kew, England.