Powdery mildew was observed on English ivy (Hedera helix L.) in Berkeley, CA, in the spring of 1997. Fungal growth was ectophytic and amphigenous on leaves and petioles and caused slight reddening and buckling of leaves. The mycelium was white, effuse to dense, and had hyphal diameters of 3.5 to 6.9 μm. Appressoria were nipple-shaped to lobed, and sometimes were opposite. The foot cells of the conidiophores were cylindric, sometimes slightly flexuous, and were 18.5 to 30.0 × 6.9 to 9.2 μm in diameter. The foot cells were followed by 1 or 2 cells. When only one cell followed the foot cell, this cell was longer and slightly wider than the foot cell and measured 20.8 to 46.2 × 6.9 to 9.2 μm. When two cells followed the foot cell, these cells were of similar length to the foot cell, with the second cell usually shorter. Conidia were formed singly, were cylindric to slightly doliiform, and measured 32.0 to 44.0 × 11.5 to 19.0 μm. Fibrosin bodies were not observed. Conidia germinated at the ends and germ tubes terminated in lobed appressoria, placing this fungus in the Polygoni-type germination category (2). Cleistothecia were not observed. Based on these characters, the fungus was identified as Oidium araliacearum U. Braun & E. Oehrens B. A specimen was deposited with the University of California at Berkeley herbarium (accession number UC1713247). Pathogenicity was confirmed by gently pressing infected leaves onto leaves of various stages of maturity on ivy vines (3 to 4 vines per plant; 4 plants). Inoculated plants were kept in a moist chamber for 48 h, and then maintained in a greenhouse. Powdery mildew developed on inoculated plants, primarily on leaves of intermediate maturity, after 14 days, while uninoculated plants did not develop disease. Phyllactinia guttata is the only other powdery mildew recorded on English ivy (2). O. araliacearum differs from P. guttata in conidial shape (cylindric vs clavate), germination habit (end vs side of conidia), and asexual genus (Oidium vs Ovulariopsis) (2). Previous to this report, O. araliacearum was described only on Pseudopanax valdiviensis, another Araliaceae plant, in Chile (1). This is the first report of a powdery mildew disease of ivy in California, and the first report of Hedera helix as a host of O. araliacearum.
References: (1) U. Braun. Mycotaxon 25:259, 1986. (2) U. Braun. Nova Hedwigia 89:1, 1987.