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Host Specificity and Variations in Aggressiveness of North Carolina Isolates of Phytophthora cryptogea and P. drechsleri in Greenhouse Ornamental Plants

January 2013 , Volume 97 , Number  1
Pages  74 - 80

H. A. Olson and D. M. Benson, Department of Plant Pathology, North Carolina State University, Raleigh 27695

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Accepted for publication 24 July 2012.

Three isolates of Phytophthora cryptogea and three isolates of P. drechsleri were evaluated for host specificity and variations in aggressiveness on eight floriculture crops commonly grown in North Carolina. Plants were monitored for the development of foliar symptoms stemming from root rot caused by Phytophthora. No isolates of P. cryptogea or P. drechsleri had the same host range, though all P. cryptogea isolates caused foliar symptoms on gerbera daisy and annual stock, and all P. drechsleri isolates incited disease on osteospermum. No African marigold plants developed foliar symptoms of Phytophthora root rot. All P. cryptogea isolates caused foliar symptoms on at least three tested plant species. Isolates of P. drechsleri varied from highly specific and only causing disease on a single host species to relatively nonspecific and causing foliar symptoms on the majority of host plants. This is the first report of host specificity of ornamental isolates of P. drechsleri, and several of the tested plants are not reported hosts of P. drechsleri. Differences in isolate aggressiveness were found and depended on plant species; overall, isolates of P. drechsleri were more aggressive than P. cryptogea isolates. Isolations from nonsymptomatic inoculated plants suggest that these Phytophthora spp. could be moved between growers or from growers to consumers on nonsymptomatic infected ornamentals.

© 2013 The American Phytopathological Society