Q. Bai and
Y. Xie, Laboratory of Plant Pathology, College of Agronomy, Jilin Agricultural University, Changchun 130118, Jilin Province, P. R. China;
R. Dong, College of Horticulture, Jilin Agricultural University, Changchun 130118, Jilin Province, P.R. China;
J. Gao, Laboratory of Plant Pathology, College of Agronomy, Jilin Agricultural University, Changchun 130118, Jilin Province, P.R. China; and
Y. Li, Engineering Research Center of Chinese Ministry of Education for Edible and Medicinal Fungi, Jilin Agricultural University, Changchun 130118, Jilin Province, P. R. China and Laboratory of Plant Pathology, College of Agronomy, Jilin Agricultural University, Changchun 130118, Jilin Province, P. R. China
Pachysandra (Pachysandra terminalis, Buxaceae) and Japanese Pachysandra, also called Japanese Spurge, is a woody ornamental groundcover plant distributed mostly in Zhejiang, Guizhou, Henan, Hubei, Sichuan, Shanxi, and Gansu provinces in China. In April 2010, P. terminalis asymptomatic plants were shipped from Beijing Botanical Garden Institute of Botany Chinese Academy of Science to the garden nursery of Jilin Agricultural University (43°48′N, 125°23′E), Jilin Province. In June 2011, Volutella blight (sometimes called leaf blight and stem canker) of P. terminalis was observed on these plants. Infected leaves showed circular or irregular, tan-to-brown spots often with concentric rings and dark margins. The spots eventually grew and coalesced until the entire leaf died. Cankers appeared as greenish brown and water-soaked diseased areas, subsequently turning brown or black, and shriveled and often girdled the stems and stolons. During wet, humid weather in autumn, reddish orange, cushion-like fruiting structures of the fungus appeared on the stem cankers and undersides of leaf spots. Symptoms of the disease were consistent with previous descriptions (2–4). Five isolates were obtained from necrotic tissue of leaf spots and cankers of stems and stolons and cultured on potato dextrose agar. The colony surface was salmon colored and slimy. Conidia were hyaline, one celled, spindle shaped, and 12.57 to 22.23 × 3.33 to 4.15 μm with rounded ends. Morphological characteristics of the fungus were consistent with the description by Dodge (2), and the fungus was identified as Volutella pachysandricola (telemorph Pseudonectria pachysandricola). The internal transcribed spacer (ITS) regions of the nuclear rDNA were amplified using primers ITS4/ITS5 (1). The ITS sequences were 553 bp long and identical among these five isolates (GenBank Accession No. HE612114). They were 100% identical to Pseudonectria pachysandricola voucher KUS-F25663 (Accession No. JN797821) and 99% identical to P. pachysandricola culture-collection DAOM (Accession No. HQ897807). Pathogenicity was confirmed by spraying leaves of clonally propagated cuttings of P. terminalis with a conidial suspension (1 × 106 conidia/ml) of the isolated V. pachysandricola. Control leaves were sprayed with sterile water. Plants were covered with plastic bags and kept in a greenhouse at 20 to 25°C for 72 h. After 5 to 8 days, typical disease symptoms appeared on leaves, while the control plants remained healthy. V. pachysandricola was reisolated from the leaf spots of inoculated plants. Pachysandra leaf blight and stem canker also called Volutella blight, is the most destructive disease of P. terminalis and previously reported in the northern humid areas of the United States (Illinois, Connecticut, Ohio, Indiana, Iowa, Massachusetts, Missouri, Kentucky, and Wisconsin), northern Europe (Britain, Germany, and Poland), and the Czech Republic. To our knowledge, this is the first report of the disease caused by V. pachysandricola in China. The disease may become a more significant problem in P. terminalis cultivation areas if the disease spreads on P. terminalis in nursery beds.
References: (1) D. E. L. Cooke et al. Mycol. Res. 101:667, 1997. (2) B. O. Dodge. Mycologia 36:532, 1944. (3) S. M. Douglas. Online publication. Volutella Blight of Pachysandra. The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station, 2008. (4) I. Safrankova. Plant Protect. Sci.43:10, 2007.