Pachysandra terminalis Siebold & Zucc., known as Japanese pachysandra, is a creeping evergreen perennial belonging to the family Buxaceae. In April 2011, hundreds of plants showing symptoms of leaf blight and stem canker with nearly 100% incidence were found in a private garden in Suwon, Korea. Plants with the same symptoms were found in Seoul in May and Hongcheon in August. Affected leaves contained tan-to-yellow brown blotches. Stem and stolon cankers first appeared as water soaked and developed into necrotic lesions. Sporodochia were solitary, erumpent, circular, 50 to 150 μm in diameter, salmon-colored, pink-orange when wet, and with or without setae. Setae were hyaline, acicular, 60 to 100 μm long, and had a base that was 4 to 6 μm wide. Conidiophores were in a dense fascicle, not branched, hyaline, aseptate or uniseptate, and 8 to 20 × 2 to 3.5 μm. Conidia were long, ellipsoid to cylindric, fusiform, rounded at the apex, subtruncate at the base, straight to slightly bent, guttulate, hyaline, aseptate, 11 to 26 × 2.5 to 4.0 μm. A single-conidial isolate formed cream-colored colonies that turned into salmon-colored colonies on potato dextrose agar (PDA). Morphological and cultural characteristics of the fungus were consistent with previous reports of Pseudonectria pachysandricola B.O. Dodge (1,3,4). Voucher specimens were housed at Korea University (KUS). Two isolates, KACC46110 (ex KUS-F25663) and KACC46111 (ex KUS-F25683), were accessioned in the Korean Agricultural Culture Collection. Fungal DNA was extracted with DNeasy Plant Mini DNA Extraction Kits (Qiagen Inc., Valencia, CA). The complete internal transcribed spacer (ITS) region of rDNA was amplified with the primers ITS1/ITS4 and sequenced using ABI Prism 337 automatic DNA sequencer (Applied Biosystems, Foster, CA). The resulting sequence of 487 bp was deposited in GenBank (Accession No. JN797821). This showed 100% similarity with a sequence of P. pachysandricola from the United States (HQ897807). Isolate KACC46110 was used in pathogenicity tests. Inoculum was prepared by harvesting conidia from 2-week-old cultures on PDA. Ten young leaves wounded with needles were sprayed with conidial suspensions (~1 × 106 conidia/ml). Ten young leaves that served as the control were treated with sterile distilled water. Plants were covered with plastic bags to maintain a relative humidity of 100% at 25 ± 2°C for 24 h. Typical symptoms of brown spots appeared on the inoculated leaves 4 days after inoculation and were identical to the ones observed in the field. P. pachysandricola was reisolated from 10 symptomatic leaf tissues, confirming Koch's postulates. No symptoms were observed on control plants. Previously, the disease was reported in the United States, Britain, Japan, and the Czech Republic (2,3), but not in Korea. To our knowledge, this is the first report of P. pachysandricola on Pachysandra terminalis in Korea. Since this plant is popular and widely planted in Korea, this disease could cause significant damage to nurseries and the landscape.
References: (1) B. O. Dodge. Mycologia 36:532, 1944. (2) D. F. Farr and A. Y. Rossman. Fungal Databases. Systematic Mycology and Microbiology Laboratory, ARS, USDA. Retrieved from http://nt.ars-grin.gov/fungaldatabases/, September 24, 2011. (3) I. Safrankova. Plant Prot. Sci. 43:10, 2007. (4) W. A. Sinclair and H. H. Lyon. Disease of Trees and Shrubs. 2nd ed. Cornell University Press, Ithaca, NY, 2005.