Mark T. Windham, and
Robert N. Trigiano, Dept. of Entomology and Plant Pathology, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN 37996-4560;
Sandra M. Reed, USDA/ARS Floral & Nursery Plants Research Unit, McMinnville, TN 37110; and
James M. Spiers and
Timothy A. Rinehart, USDA/ARS Thad Cochran Horticultural Research Laboratory, Poplarville, MS 39470
Temporal development of Erysiphe polygoni and responses of bigleaf hydrangeas (Hydrangea macrophylla) to the fungal attack were investigated using bright-field and fluorescence microscopy. Conidia germinated 2 h after inoculation (HAI) and formed primary appressoria at the tip of the primary germ tubes within 4 HAI. Secondary germ tubes were initiated from primary appressoria or other parts of conidia 12 HAI. Hyphae developed through elongation of secondary germ tubes, and paired lateral appressoria were formed along hyphae within 2 days after inoculation (DAI). Conidiophores and conidia were formed 5 DAI. In the susceptible cultivar Nikko Blue and the resistant cultivar Veitchii, the fungus established a parasitic relationship, which was indicated by the formation of haustoria under primary appressoria and development of secondary germ tubes at 1 DAI. A hypersensitive response (HR) and accumulation of callose were detected in both resistant and susceptible cultivars at 3 DAI. Resistance to powdery mildew in Veitchii was evident by manifestation of early accumulation of callose, relatively high percentage of necrotic infected cells, and restricted colony development compared to the susceptible cultivar Nikko Blue. Restricting hyphal growth and sporulation by early response of callose accumulation and HR are important resistance mechanisms that could be used in screening hydrangeas for resistance to powdery mildew.