As part of the Phytophthora ramorum testing program from 2005 through 2007, a Phytophthora sp. was isolated on PARP-CMA medium (4) at the CDFA lab in Sacramento, CA, from the margin of necrotic spots and tissue suffering from dieback on Arctostaphylos sp. (manzanita), Camellia spp., Laurus nobilis (bay), Buxus sempervirens (boxwood), Rhododendron sp., Arbutus unedo (strawberry tree), and Sequoia sempervirens (coast redwood). Isolates were collected from Shasta, Contra Costa, San Diego, Solano, Santa Cruz, Alameda, Sacramento, San Joaquin, Monterey, and Los Angeles Counties. Isolates from A. unedo tissue on PARP medium produced apapillate, obovate sporangia 25 to 80 × 15 to 40 μm (48.0 × 26.9 μm average) and a few isolates produced intercalary and terminal chlamydospores at 22°C (30 to 46 μm diameter, 38.9 μm average). The internal transcribed spacer region (ITS) of rDNA was amplified from four isolates using ITS1 and ITS4 primers as described by White et al. (3) and the amplicons sequenced (GenBank Accession Nos. JQ307188 through JQ307191). BLAST analysis of the amplicons showed 99 to 100% identity with the ITS sequence of Phytophthora taxon Pgchlamydo from forest streams in Oregon (GenBank Accession No. HM004224) (1). Pathogenicity tests were performed on B. sempervirens, C. sasanqua, L. nobilis, and A. unedo. Five plants of each species were inoculated with 6-mm plugs taken from the margin of a 7- to 10-day-old culture grown on V8 juice agar. Plant leaves were wounded with a sterile pushpin and two agar plugs were covered with a freezer tube cap filled with sterile dH2O and clipped to the underside of the leaves with a sterile pin-curl clip (4). Inoculated plants were sprayed with water, covered with plastic bags, and incubated for 2 days, when bags and plugs were removed. Five leaves of each isolate plus five control plugs using V8 juice agar alone were inoculated on each plant. Plants were incubated for 12 days at 18°C (16-h photoperiod). Lesions formed on all inoculated plants, ranging in size from approx. 1 mm on B. sempervirens to 9.2 × 10.9 mm average on A. unedo. The lesions on A. unedo grew into and caused the mid-vein to blacken. The lesion sizes on camellia and bay were larger than those formed on B. sempervirens and smaller than those formed on A. unedo, with most lesions surrounded by a dark ring. Phytophthora taxon Pgchlamydo is associated with leaf lesions on rhododendron and dieback of yew in Minnesota (2). To our knowledge, this is the first report of Phytophthora taxon Pgchlamydo causing disease in camellia, bay, strawberry tree, and boxwood in California. Phytophthora taxon Pgchlamydo causes damage that is indistinguishable from the quarantine pest, P. ramorum (4).
References: (1) P. W. Reeser et al. Mycologia 103:22, 2011. (2) B. W. Schwingle and R. A. Blanchette. Plant Dis. 92:642, 2008. (3) T. J. White et al. PCR Protocols: A Guide to Methods and Applications. M. A. Innis et al., eds., Academic Press, San Diego, 1990. (4) L. E. Yakabe et al. Plant Dis. 93:883, 2009.