Hemionitis arifolia (Burm.) Moore. was grown commercially as an ornamental plant in China. In January 2010, a new foliar disease with typical leaf spot symptoms was observed on H. arifolia in Dongguan City, Guangdong Province. Approximately 10% of the plants in the Dongguan nursery were affected. Leaf spots were circular to subcircular, dark brown, with distinct concentric zones, and ranged from 10 to 20 mm in diameter. Lesions developed mostly on the lower leaves and black sporodochia with white mycelial tufts were produced mostly in older lesions under high humidity. Single-spore isolates from lesions plated on potato dextrose agar (PDA) produced white, floccose colonies and dark green-to-black sporodochia. Colonies reached 60 mm on PDA at 25°C after 14 days. Conidiophores branched repeatedly. Conidiogenous cells in whorls of two to six on ultimate branches were hyaline, cylindrical, and 13 to 20 × 1.2 to 1.8 μm. Conidia were hyaline, cylindrical, mostly with both rounded ends, occasionally one blunt end, and mean size was 6.1 (4.5 to 7.0) × 2.3 (1.8 to 3.0) μm. These characteristics were consistent with the descriptions of Myrothecium roridum Tode ex Fr. (2–4). The internal transcribed spacer regions including ITS1, ITS2, and the 5.8S rRNA of one isolate were PCR amplified and sequenced. A BLAST search in GenBank revealed highest similarity (99%) to M. roridum sequences from isolates collected from Germany (Accession Nos. AJ302001.1 and AJ301995.1). The M. roridum sequence from the Chinese isolate was submitted to GenBank (Accession No. JF343832). To confirm pathogenicity, five leaves on five H. arifolia plants were inoculated with 5-mm mycelial plugs from the periphery of 7-day-old cultures; sterile PDA plugs were used as the control treatment. Plants were covered with plastic bags and incubated in a growth chamber at 28°C. Necrotic lesions appeared 2 to 3 days after inoculation and the symptoms described above were observed after 7 days on all inoculated leaves, whereas sterile PDA plugs did not produce any leaf lesion. The pathogen was reisolated from the inoculated leaves and confirmed to be M. roridum on the basis of morphological characteristics. There are approximately 271 hosts of M. roridum (1), including many ornamental plants such as salvia (2) and garden hydrangea (3). To our knowledge, this is the first report of Myrothecium leaf spot on H. arifolia. Because the disease caused damage to the foliage and reduced the ornamental value of H. arifolia plants, control measures may need to be implemented for production of this species in ornamental nurseries.
References: (1) D. F. Farr and A. Y. Rossman. Fungal Databases. Systematic Mycology and Microbiology Laboratory, ARS, USDA. Retrived from http://nt.ars-grin.gov/fungaldatabases/, 6 February 2011. (2) J. A. Mangandi et al. Plant Dis. 91:772, 2007. (3) M. T. Mmbaga et al. Plant Dis. 94:1266, 2010. (4) M. Tulloch. Mycol. Pap. No. 130. CMI, Wallingford, UK, 1972.