Chervil (Anthriscus cerefolium) is a culinary herb in the Apiaceae family that is grown commercially in California. In 2003 and 2004, shade house plantings of chervil in central coastal California exhibited symptoms and signs of a powdery mildew disease. White, epiphytic mycelia and conidia were present on petioles and leaves. Severely affected leaflets became slightly twisted and bent. Mycelium was amphigenous and effused or in patches. Hyphae measured 5.0 to 7.5 μm in diameter and had lobed appressoria. Conidiophores were straight and had cylindric foot cells measuring 25.0 to 37.5 × 7.5 to 10.0 μm, followed by a longer cell and one to two shorter cells. Conidia formed singly, were cylindric, and measured (37.5-) 40.0 to 50.0 (-52.5) × 15.0 to 17.5 μm. Conidia lacked fibrosin bodies and germinated at the ends with either a very short or a long germ tube forming a lobed appressorium (Polygoni type). No cleistothecia were observed. On the basis of these characteristics, the fungus was identified as Erysiphe heraclei (1). To confirm pathogenicity, severely colonized chervil leaves from a commercial nursery were gently pressed onto leaves of potted chervil plants. Plants were then maintained in a greenhouse (22 to 24°C). After 10 to 12 days, signs of powdery mildew developed on the foliage of inoculated plants, and the pathogen morphology matched that of the originally observed pathogen. Noninoculated control plants did not develop powdery mildew. To investigate the host range of this chervil isolate, parsley (Petroselinum crispum) and celery (Apium graveolens) plants were inoculated in the same way as described. However, after more than 3 weeks, no powdery mildew developed on these two Apiaceae plants. Control chervil plants again developed the disease. To our knowledge, this is the first report of powdery mildew of chervil caused by E. heraclei in California. Disease impact was severe, and in some cases, chervil crops were not harvested. The inability of the chervil isolate to infect two other Apiaceae plants that are listed as hosts of E. heraclei indicates that this pathogen may consist of strains having different host ranges.
Reference: (1) U. Braun. Nova Hedwigia 89:1, 1987.