Chrysanthemum white rust (CWR) is a quarantine-significant pest in the United States (Title 7, Code of Federal Regulations, Part 319.37-2). The causal agent of CWR, Puccinia horiana Henn., is an autoecious, microcyclic rust that is pathogenic on chrysanthemum species (Chrysanthemum spp.) and close relatives within the family Asteraceae. CWR is indigenous to Japan, where it was first reported in 1895 (4). By the 1960s, CWR was found throughout Europe and later spread to Africa, Oceana, South America, and other parts of Asia. In North America, CWR was reported in Mexico and in the United States (New Jersey and Pennsylvania , Oregon and Washington , and California ). Additional detections of CWR were later reported in 22 Pennsylvania counties (2004, 2006 to 2010) (3). These later Pennsylvania reports stated that eradication was attempted at some sites, but unconfirmed observations suggested that the rust pathogen might overwinter in volunteer plants (3). Since “CWR is known to overwinter in Europe where chrysanthemums overwinter (average minimum temperatures ranging from –10°F to 10°F)” (2), the unconfirmed Pennsylvania observations prompted us to determine if P. horiana can overwinter in Pennsylvania. During October 2010, we identified CWR on perennial mums planted at six outdoor garden locations in University Park, PA. Symptomatic plants were quarantined and eradication attempted. Eradicated sites were routinely surveyed and CWR confirmed in July 2011 on volunteer plants at two of the originally infested sites. An additional outdoor garden site with CWR was observed in State College, PA, during October 2011 and eradication attempted. The three infested sites were surveyed throughout the fall and winter of 2011 to 2012. During February 2012, two asymptomatic volunteer plants arising from root pieces were collected from each of the three sites. Each sample was washed with tap water to remove excess soil, examined morphologically, surface sterilized with 10% bleach, and divided into two subsamples. One subsample from each site was divided into crown and root portions and DNA extracted using a Qiagen DNeasy Plant Mini Kit. Molecular analysis was performed using modifications of published primers ITS 5 and Rust1 (1,4). Puccinia horiana was detected in plant roots from one site and in plant crowns from two sites. The remaining two subsamples from each site were transplanted into sterilized potting soil and placed in a clean controlled environment chamber at 18°C and 85% relative humidity (RH). After 6 weeks, six actively growing plants were transferred to a second clean controlled environment chamber at 17°C and 90 to 100% RH. On 6 April 2012, CWR symptoms and signs were confirmed morphologically on two plants that had been removed from one site. On 19 April 2012, CWR signs and symptoms were confirmed morphologically and by molecular analysis on leaves of volunteer plants at one University Park site. DNA extractions were sequenced and shared a 100% maximum identity to a known P. horiana accession (EU816920.1) in GenBank. To our knowledge, this is the first confirmed report of P. horiana overwintering in Pennsylvania.
References: (1) H. Alaei et al. Mycol. Res. 113:668, 2009. (2) Anon. Chrysanthemum White Rust Bulletin, Syngenta Flowers Inc., Gilroy, CA, 2010. (3) S. Kim et al. Phytopathology 101:S91, 2011. (4) K. Pedley. Plant Dis. 93:1252, 2009.