Anthurium blight! This one is bad.

Discussion in 'Araceae' started by photopro, Jan 11, 2010.

  1. photopro

    photopro Well-Known Member

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    Information from aroid botanist David Scherberich in France as well as Leland Miyano in Hawaii indicates there is a bad Anthurium blight spreading around the globe. At least two major gardens in France and some in Hawaii have had to deal with this one which has no cure. The blight also affects Xanthosoma and Dieffenbachia species as well as some other aroids.

    The one that is really bad is: Xanthomonas campestris pv. dieffenbachiae which causes the leaf margins (edges) to turn yellow and all the leaves to drop. I would suggest you be very careful about buying new Anthurium right now! This has the potential to kill an entire collection.

    Some species are resistant but others spread it quickly and it has become very hazardous in ornamental Anthurium. Some commercial growers in Hawaii lost almost entire crops of ornamental Anthurium (the kind you buy in the store) so be very careful about buying any Anthurium in a local nursery or discount store! Examine all the leaves carefully and if you see any sign of this blight avoid taking a plant home.

    The info in this link is technical but if you wade through the science may provide useful information:


    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1392979/
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2010
  2. togata57

    togata57 Contributor 10 Years

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    Steve, your news is horrifying!
     
  3. photopro

    photopro Well-Known Member

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    More so to botanical gardens with large collections of valuable specimens. I own nearly 100 species of Anthurium and many were wild collected by noted botanists which passed along a cutting or plant grown from seed.

    Home growers just need to be aware of the basic form of the blight and avoid buying any Anthurium plant with yellowing leaves or ones that appear to be dropping foliage, especially those that are known and sold as the ornamental types called "Flamingo Flowers". Personally I won't be even picking up any plant that shows an indication of the condition because I can't afford to loose the entire collection.

    Just keep your eyes open when you visit the plant section!
     
  4. togata57

    togata57 Contributor 10 Years

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    How contagious/deadly is it to other aroids?
     
  5. photopro

    photopro Well-Known Member

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    The experts that provided the info didn't mention other genera but I will check. Since it appears to have at least partially originated from Xanthosoma and Dieffenbachia I would be curious to know if those species can be infected but I'll let you know once I know.
     
  6. photopro

    photopro Well-Known Member

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    I found this info from the University of Hawaii. This is somewhat technical but will give you an idea of what you should look for and avoid. Hydathodes are just glands in the leaf that are used to leak water in a process known as guttation. Stomates (stoma) exchange gases, oxygen for carbon dioxide.

    Disease Symptoms

    Early foliar symptoms start as water-soaked spots visible near the margins where hydathodes, filled with guttation fluid, serve as the most common port of entry (Figs. 9 and 10). Tissues surrounding the infected areas turn yellow. Water-soaked spots coalesce, eventually forming large necrotic zones at leaf margins (Fig. 11). The pathogen quickly moves into vascular tissues of petioles (Fig. 12) and stems, preventing the translocation of nutrients and water and producing symptoms of water stress (Fig. 13) that may resemble natural senescence (Fig. 14). The main stem of systemically infected plants turns dark brown (Fig. 15), and the growing point deteriorates (Fig. 16), eventually leading to death of the plant. When the spathe is infected the disease is often called "flower blight" (Fig. 17). Less frequently, bacteria enter stomates, forming circular water-soaked lesions surrounded by chlorotic zones (Fig. 18). Stomatal invasion often results in limited colonization of mesophyll tissues and does not necessarily lead to systemic infection.
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2010
  7. togata57

    togata57 Contributor 10 Years

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    Appalling. Worse than a zombie movie...rivals any science-fiction plague.
    And THIS is REAL!
    Reminds me of some of the descriptions of the decomposed corpses Kathy Reichs gives us in her Temperance Brennan books.
    ---And I had thought that the banana blight was going to be bad!---
     
  8. photopro

    photopro Well-Known Member

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    If we are prudent we can keep this out of collections. The problem may well come from buying plants from unknown growers via mail such as on eBay. I'm certain the major aroid growers in Florida and other parts of the world are looking for this one but once you get it.........you got it! Just watch for yellowing leaves beginning at the edges as well as plants that are dropping them!

    Steve
     
  9. photopro

    photopro Well-Known Member

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    I just had it confimred this problem has been with the ornamental Anthurium industry for some years and is largely limited to the ornamental species. Plants in the "birds nest" group are less affected as are other species. Still, it is wise to be aware of the condition and use caution when buying new plants from sources that are not trained to recognize the condition.
     
  10. lorax

    lorax Rising Contributor 10 Years

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    Wow, I sure hope that this doesn't escape into the wild here. There's a huge industry in ornamental Anthuriums here (for reasons I can't fathom, since our species are much more stunning...) so it's entirely possible we've got it. Not to mention that Dieffenbachia and Xanthosoma are natives....
     
  11. photopro

    photopro Well-Known Member

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    I traded mail several times with a large grower south of Miami and he said the critical factor is to be super clean in the greenhouse. Apparently one Florida tissue culture company had to close a greenhouse since the area became infected and there is no known way to eradicate it. They had no choice other than to build a new building.

    He also said a European tissue culture lab and nursery sent specimens to China to be propagated but the batch became contaminated and when they were shipped back to Europe the disease came along. That would explain how the disease got to Europe. Once their facility was contaminated it was not possible to correct the problem with good sanitation.

    I am not aware of any wild contamination but collector/growers need to be cautious when buying new plants and examine them closely.
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2010

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