Occurrence of Cercospora insulana Sacc. on statice (Limonium sinuatum Mill.) in Italy
1 Tobacco Experiment Institute, Scafati, Italy
2 Flower Crops Experiment Institute, Sanremo, Italy
Accepted: 03 Dec 2002
For the past three years, fields of statice (Limonium sinuatum Mill.) near Pompei, southern Italy, have been affected by a previously unrecorded leaf-spot disease, which was also found in 2002 near Pescia, in central Italy. Infections first occurred in June and spread during the summer. Leaf-spots were circular, brown with a darker edge, 3-6 mm diameter, and surrounded by an orange or reddish halo. Lesions were also observed on the wings of the flower scapes, while scapes proper were not involved. Old lesions enlarged and merged, causing early yellowing and senescence of leaves; heavy infections resulted in severe defoliation and retarded growth or death of panicles.
Microscopic inspection of lesions revealed the presence of dark brown stromata with pale brown conidiophores. Conidiophores were septate, unbranched, sinuous, bent at spore scars, averaging 59 μm long x 4.8 μm wide. They bore multiseptate hyaline conidia (95 μm long x 3.3 μm wide on average) which were slightly curved, with truncate bases and subacute tips. These features conform to the reported description of Cercospora insulana Sacc., a species recorded on Limonium and other members of the Plumbaginaceae (Chupp, 1953).
The species C. insulana was originally described by Saccardo (1915) on L. sinuatum in Malta. Since then the pathogen has been reported from Russia, the United States, Canada, Guatemala, South Africa (Chupp, 1953), Taiwan, Argentina, Israel, Thailand, Myanmar, and a number of African countries (J.C. David, CABI Bioscience, Egham, UK, personal communication). Cercospora leaf-spot of statice was reported by Pesante (1956) in northern Italy, but the author claimed it had longer conidia (120-180 μm) and described it as Cercospora statices. This difference is questionable because the author measured conidia developing in a moist chamber. Longer conidia were also observed by Jackson (1961). However, since no further outbreaks of the disease have been reported since, and it is no longer possible to make a comparison with the specimens collected by Pesante, to our knowledge this is the first documented report of C. insulana in Italy.
Authors thank Dr John C. David (CABI Bioscience, Egham, United Kingdom) for confirming the identity of the pathogen as C. insulana.
- Chupp C, 1953. A monograph of the fungus genus Cercospora. Published by the author, Ithaca, U.S.A., 667 pp.
- Jackson CR, 1961. Cercospora leafspot of statice. Phytopathology 51, 129-30.
- Pesante A, 1956. Un parassita nuovo della Statice sinuata L., Cercospora statices n. sp. Bollettino del Laboratorio Sperimentale di Fitopatologia, Torino, NS 19, 63-74.
- Saccardo PA, 1915. Fungi ex insula Melita (Malta). Nuovo Giornale Botanico Italiano 22, 24-76.
This report was formally published in Plant Pathology
©2002 The Authors