Rattlesnake master (Eryngium yuccifolium) is a wildflower that is native to Ohio. In recent years, native wildflowers have become very popular with home gardeners, and conservationists have begun to reestablish these plants in their native ranges. As native perennial wildflowers become more common, it is important to determine if they might serve as possible perennial reservoirs of viruses. A plot of 20 species native to Ohio was established on the Waterman Agricultural and Natural Resources Laboratory, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio. In the summers of 1999 and 2001, random samples were collected from established plantings. Some sampled plants did not show symptoms of virus infection; however, all samples of E. yuccifolium appeared chlorotic, slightly mottled, and stunted. Using double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) analysis (1), these plants were assayed for viral infection. dsRNA profiles obtained from symptomatic E. yuccifolium resembled that of Cucumber mosaic virus (CMV). These results were confirmed with an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA; Agdia Inc., Elkhart, IN) for CMV. dsRNA-containing samples of E. yuccifolium produced ELISA absorbance values (A405) of 0.231 to 0.713 when compared with the negative control. All 14 samples of E. yuccifolium tested positive for CMV. To our knowledge, this is the first report of CMV in E. yuccifolium, which should serve as the basis for a more extensive survey, since CMV can potentially infect a wide variety of ornamental and nonornamental hosts.
Reference: (1) R. Valverde et al. Plant Dis. 74:255, 1990.