D. Zhao, Office, Xinyang Normal University Huarui College, Xinyang, Henan, 464000, China and College of Forestry, Henan University of Science and Technology, Luoyang, Henan, 471003, China; and
Y. B. Kang, College of Forestry, Henan University of Science and Technology, Luoyang, Henan, 471003, China
Tree peony (Paeonia suffruticosa Andrews) is a perennial woody deciduous shrub native to China and famous for its beautiful flowers. Starting in early autumn 2010, blighted branches of tree peony were detected in the International Peony Garden in Luoyang. The disease incidence was greater than 10% and disease symptoms included bulb atrophy and twig and branch dieback. Pycnidia were embedded within the bark of diseased branches. They were small, black, ostiolate, and measured 145 to 275 × 140 to 251 μm. Pycnoconidia were single-celled, hyaline or sandy beige, rounded to ellipsoidal, and 3.9 to 10.3 × 2.3 to 7.0 μm. Pure cultures were obtained by plating the pycnoconidia on potato dextrose agar (PDA). In culture, the fungus produced a circular, white to pink colony with pyknotic and linter shaped aerial mycelium. Numerous pycnidia, initially brown and dark at maturity, were embedded in the mycelium, especially in the center of the colony, with a few of them scattered in the edge. The morphological characteristics were consistent with Phoma (2). The ITS1-5.8S-ITS2 region of three isolates were PCR amplified and sequenced with primers ITS1 and ITS4. Sequences (GenBank Accession No. JX885584) showed 99% identity with reference isolates of Peyronellaea glomerata (Corda) Goid (AB470906.1 and HQ380779.1) and Phoma glomerata (Corda) Wollenw. & Hochapfel (EU098115.1). These two species are synonyms (1). To test pathogenicity, nine healthy branches of 3-year-old potted tree peony plants were wound-inoculated with a PDA disk containing pycnidia from an actively growing colony of P. glomerata. Three control branches were inoculated with sterile PDA disks. Each inoculated branch was wrapped in a plastic bag and maintained in a greenhouse at 25 to 28°C. After 3 days, brown patches appeared on inoculated branches and extended by up to 1 cm. Pycnidia identical to those observed in the field and in storage appeared on all inoculated branches 7 days after inoculation. Control branches did not show symptoms. The pathogen was reisolated from inoculated branches, fulfilling Koch's postulates. P. glomerata was reported as the causal agent of withering of flowers and young shoots of grapevines in Yugoslavia (3). To our knowledge, P. glomerata and Botryosphaeria dothidea have always been reported together, causing branch wilting or dieback. To our knowledge, this is the first report of branch blight of tree peony caused by P. glomerata in China.
References: (1) M. M. Aveskamp et al. Mycol. Soc. Am. 101:363, 2009. (2) G. H. Boerema et al. Studies in Mycology, 3, 1973. (3) A. Šaric-Sabadoš et al. Atti Ist. bot. Univ. Pavia 18:101, 1960.