University of California Cooperative Extension, Salinas 93901
Agriculture Weights & Measure, San Diego, CA 92123
University of California Cooperative Extension, Watsonville 95076
University of California Cooperative Extension, San Diego 92123
In California, hybrid statice (Misty series; Limonium bellidifolium × Limonium latifolium) is grown as a commercial cutflower crop in fields and greenhouses. In 1997, downy mildew was observed on statice plantings in both southern (San Diego County) and central (Monterey and Santa Cruz counties) parts of coastal California. Initial symptoms consisted of light green, irregularly shaped leaf spots that, after a few days, became chlorotic. As disease progressed, chlorotic spots coalesced and turned necrotic, at times resulting in extensive death of leaf tissues. Under favorable conditions, the purple to gray sporulation of the pathogen could be seen on abaxial surfaces of leaves. Conidiophores had main trunks with dichotomous branches and measured 194 to 335 μm in length (mean = 229 μm) from the base to the first branches and 7 to 8 μm across at the widest part. Branch ends were slender with curved tips that measured 5 to 8 μm long. Conidia were ovoid to globose with very short pedicels, and measured 14 to 19 μm × 14 to 17 μm. Conidial surfaces appeared slightly roughened when viewed with a scanning electron microscope. Clearing leaf sections with 10% NaOH (1) revealed the presence of yellow-brown, globose oospores that measured 31 to 47 μm. The pathogen was identified as Peronospora statices (1). Pathogenicity was demonstrated by pressing leaves with abundant sporulation against healthy leaves of test plants (Misty White) and then placing inoculated plants in a humidity chamber. After 10 to 12 days, symptoms similar to those originally observed developed on inoculated plants; after 14 to 16 days, purple fungal growth morphologically similar to the original isolates grew on leaves. Uninoculated control plants did not develop symptoms or signs of downy mildew. This is the first report of downy mildew caused by P. statices on statice in California and the rest of the United States. The disease has also been confirmed on Blue Fantasia (L. bellidifolium × L. perezii). This disease has been reported previously in Italy, The Netherlands, and the United Kingdom (1).
Reference: (1) G. S. Hall et al. Eur. J. Plant Pathol. 103:471, 1997.