M. Zhang, College of Plant Protection, Hennan Agriculture University, 95 Wenhua Road, Zhengzhou Henan, 450002 China; and
T. Tsukiboshi and
I. Okabe, Plant Pathology Laboratory, National Institute of Livestock and Grassland Science, 768 Senbonmatsu, Nasushiobara, Tochigi, 329-2793 Japan
European columbine, Aquilegia vulgaris L., Ranunculaceae, is an herbaceous flower widely used in gardens, parterres, and courtyards and is a traditional herbal plant. During the summer of 2008, leaf spots were observed on a plant cultivated along a roadside area in Nasushiobara, Tochigi, Japan. In some courtyards, the leaf spot affected more than 60% of the plants. Early symptoms appeared as small, round or elliptic, brown lesions on the leaves. Lesions expanded to 5 to 15 × 4 to 10 mm, irregular spots that were dark brown to black in the middle, with pale yellow-brown or purple-brown margins. In continuously wet or humid conditions, thick, gray mycelium and conidia appeared on the surface of leaf spots. Conidiophores were melanized at the base and hyaline near the apex, branched, and septated (approximately 3 mm × 16 to 18 μm). Conidia were hyaline, aseptate, ellipsoidal to obovoid, with a slightly protuberant hilum, and ranged from 9 to 14.5 × 5.5 to 6.5 μm. The pathogen was identified as Botrytis cinerea Pers.:Fr on the basis of morphology and sequence of ITS1-5.8s-ITS2 region of rDNA. The sequence (GenBank Accession No. FJ424510) exactly matched the sequences of two Botryotinia fuckeliana (anamorph Botrytis cinerea), (e.g., GenBank Accession Nos. AY686865 and FJ169666) (2). The fungus was isolated on potato dextrose agar (PDA) from a single conidium found on the symptomatic leaf tissue. Colonies of B. cinerea were first hyaline and later turned gray to black when the spores differentiated. Koch's postulates were performed with three whole plants of potted aquilegia. Leaves were inoculated with mycelia plugs harvested from the periphery of a 7-day-old colony; an equal number of plants were inoculated with the plugs of PDA medium only and served as controls. All plants were covered with plastic bags for 24 h to maintain high relative humidity and incubated at 25°C. After 8 days, all mycelium-inoculated plants showed symptoms identical to those observed on leaves from A. vulgaris infected in the field, whereas controls remained symptom free. Reisolation of the fungus from lesions on inoculated leaves confirmed that the causal agent was B. cinerea. B. cinerea has been previously reported on A. vulgaris in the United States and China (1,3). To our knowledge, this is the first report of leaf spots caused by B. cinerea on A. vulgaris in Japan.
References: (1) Anonymous. Index of Plant Diseases in the United States. USDA Agric. Handb. No 165, 1960. (2) M. B. Ellis. Dematiaceous Hyphomycetes. Commonwealth Mycological Institute, Kew, England, 1971. (3) Z. Y. Zhang. Flora Fungorum Sinicorum. Vol. 26. Botrytis, Ramularia. Science Press, Beijing, 2006.