J. F. Elmhirst and
B. E. Auxier, Elmhirst Diagnostics and Research, 5727 Riverside Street, Abbotsford, British Columbia, V4X 1T6, Canada; and
L. A. Wegener, Institute for Sustainable Horticulture, Kwantlen Polytechnic University, Langley, British Columbia, V3A 8G9, Canada
Boxwoods (Buxus spp.) are common woody ornamental hedging plants in Europe and North America, typically propagated by cuttings. In October 2011, shoot dieback and defoliation was observed on Buxus sempervirens ‘Suffruticosa’ (dwarf English boxwood) and ‘Green Balloon’ in outdoor, 10-cm pots at a wholesale nursery in Chilliwack, British Columbia. Circular leaf spots with black rings occurred on leaves and black, water-soaked, cankers girdled the stems and petioles. Leaf and stem samples were collected on November 21, 2011, and incubated for 48 h in a moist chamber at room temperature. In addition to Volutella buxi, a Cylindrocladium species producing conidia on white sporodochia was observed on host tissue under the microscope. Leaves with lesions were surface-sterilized in 10% bleach for 30 to 60 s, rinsed in sterile water, and lesions were cut out and plated on PDA and carnation leaf media. The species was identified as Cylindrocladium pseudonaviculatum Crous, J.Z. Groenew. & C.F. Hill 2002 by comparison of conidia and phialide morphology to published descriptions. Conidia were hyaline, one-septate, cylindrical with rounded ends and 38 to 76 μm (mean 51 μm) × 4 to 6 μm on carnation leaf media and 41 to 66 μm (mean 52 μm) × 4 to 6 μm on B. sempervirens ‘Suffruticosa’ leaves, comparable to the reported range of 40 to 75 × 4 to 6 μm (1,2,3,4). Conidia were produced in clusters on terminal, ellipsoid vesicles at the tips of penicillate conidiophores. Vesicles were 10.2 (7.6 to 12.8 μm) at the widest point, consistent with the 6 to 11 μm reported in (2,3) and tapered to a rounded point; stipe extensions were septate and measured an average of 130 μm (107 to 163 μm) in length to the tip of the vesicle, consistent with the 95 to 155 μm reported in (1), 89 to 170 μm reported in (2), and 95 to 165 μm in (3). Chlamydospores were not observed on host tissue but appeared in older PDA cultures as dark brown microsclerotia. DNA was extracted from single-spore colonies on PDA and the internal transcribed spacer (ITS) region of rDNA was amplified with primers ITS1 and ITS4. The ITS sequence (GenBank Accession No. KC291613) was 100% identical to C. buxicola strain CB-KR001 (HM749646.1) and Calonectria pseudonaviculata strain ATCC MYA-4891 (JX174050.1). In early December 2011, box blight was identified on container-grown B. sinica var. insularis × B. sempervirens ‘Green Velvet,’ ‘Green Gem’, and ‘Green Mountain’ and B. sempervirens L. (common or American boxwood). The pathogen was identified by microscopic examination at three wholesale nurseries in the eastern Fraser Valley and one landscape planting. The isolate has been deposited in the Canadian Collection of Fungal Cultures in Ottawa, Canada (DAOM 242242).
References: (1) B. Henricot and A. Culham. Mycologia 94:980, 2002. (2) K. L. Ivors, et al. Plant Dis. 96:1070, 2012. (3) C. Pintos Varela, et al. Plant Dis. 93:670, 2009. (4) M. Saracchi, et al. J. Plant Pathol. 90:581, 2008.