During the fall of 2002, African daisy (Osteospermum sp.) plants showing symptoms of a wilt disease were observed in a commercial, nonheated glasshouse in Albenga in northern Italy. Wilted plants were first observed when outside temperatures were between 15 and 28°C. Symptoms were first observed on seedlings 40 days after they had been transplanted into pots. The vascular tissues of affected plants appeared brown. These plants were stunted and developed yellowed leaves with brown or black streaks in the vascular system. The vascular streaks in the yellow leaves extended from the crown and were continuous with a brown discoloration in the vascular system of the crown and upper taproot. Fusarium oxysporum was consistently and readily isolated from symptomatic vascular tissue onto a Fusarium-selective medium (1). Healthy, rooted, 40-day-old plants were inoculated by root-dip with a conidial suspension (1 × 107 CFU/ml) of three isolates of F. oxysporum obtained from infected plants and transplanted into pots filled with steam-sterilized soil. Noninoculated plants served as control treatments. Plants (10 per treatment) were grown in a glasshouse at an average temperature of 25°C (minimum of 12°C and maximum of 39°C). Wilt symptoms and vascular discoloration in the roots, crown, and veins developed within 20 days on each inoculated plant, while noninoculated plants remained healthy. F. oxysporum was consistently reisolated from infected plants. The pathogenicity test was conducted twice. To our knowledge, this is the first report of F. oxysporum on Osteospermum sp. in Italy or elsewhere in the world.
Reference: (1) H. Komada. Rev. Plant Prot. Res. 8:114, 1975.