University of California Cooperative Extension, Salinas 93901
United States Department of Agriculture–Agricultural Research Service (USDA-ARS), Systematic Mycology and Microbiology
USDA-ARS, Soybean Genomics and Improvement Laboratory, Beltsville, MD 20705
University of California Cooperative Extension, Ventura 93003
From 2009 through 2011, a previously undescribed disease occurred on commercial parsley in coastal (Ventura County) California. Symptoms of the disease consisted of circular to oval, tan to brown leaf spots and resulted in loss of crop quality and, hence, reduced yields. A fungus was consistently isolated from symptomatic parsley. Morphological and molecular data identified the fungus as Stemphylium vesicarium. When inoculated onto parsley leaves, the isolates caused symptoms that were identical to those seen in the field; the same fungus was recovered from test plants, thus completing Koch's postulates. Additional inoculation experiments demonstrated that 10 of 11 tested flat leaf and curly parsley cultivars were susceptible. The parsley isolates also caused small leaf spots on other Apiaceae family plants (carrot and celery) but not on leek, onion, spinach, and tomato. Isolates caused brown lesions to form when inoculated onto pear fruit but only when the fruit tissue was wounded. Using a freeze-blotter seedborne pathogen assay, parsley seed was found to have a low incidence (0.25%) of S. vesicarium. When inoculated onto parsley leaves, three of four isolates from seed caused the same leaf spot disease. This is the first documentation of a foliar parsley disease caused by S. vesicarium. The occurrence of S. vesicarium on parsley seed indicates that infested seed may be one source of initial inoculum. Based on the negative results in the host range experiments, it appears that this parsley pathogen differs from the S. vesicarium that causes disease on leek, garlic, onion, and pear fruit.