Iceland poppy (Papaver nudicaule L.) is grown on the Italian Riviera for export as a cut flower and its importance in the industry is increasing. During the spring of 2003, severe outbreaks of powdery mildew that had not been reported previously, occurred in several commercial plantings grown outdoors in containers near Imperia in northern Italy. Mycelium was observed on all green organs of the plant (leaves, stems, and petioles). Both surfaces on the leaves were affected, and heavily colonized leaves were distorted. As the disease progressed, diseased leaves turned yellow and died. The disease did not affect the flowers. Conidia were hyaline, cylindric, and measured 10.8 to 29.8 × 16.8 to 48.0 μm (average 13.7 × 37.3 μm). Foot cells were cylindric and appressoria unlobed. Fibrosin bodies were not present, and cleistothecia were not observed. The pathogen was identified as Oidium sp. subgenus Pseudoidium (1,2). Pathogenicity was confirmed by gently pressing leaves with visible sporulation onto the leaves of five 90-day-old P. nudicaule plants that were healthy and free of symptoms. Five noninoculated healthy plants served as controls. Inoculated and noninoculated plants were maintained in a growth chamber at 15°C with a 12-h photoperiod. After 7 to 10 days, typical symptoms of powdery mildew developed on inoculated plants but not on noninoculated plants. Previously, Erysiphe cruciferarum Opiz ex L. Junell has been reported on P. nudicaule in all continents, and E. cichoracearum DC. and E. polygoni DC. have been reported in several countries, including Italy, as a causal agent of powdery mildew on other species of Papaver including P. rhoeas and P. strigosum. To our knowledge, this is the first report of powdery mildew caused by an Oidium sp. on P. nudicaule in Italy. The voucher specimen is kept in the department collection at the University of Torino.
References: (1) R. Belanger et al., eds. The Powdery Mildew A Comprehensive Treatise. The American Phytopathological Society, St Paul, MN, 2002. (2) U. Braun. Nova Hedwigia. 89:700, 1987.