First Report of Petunia Blight Caused by Choanephora cucurbitarum in the United States
A blight (wet rot) of petunia (Petunia ×hybrida Hort. Vilm.-Andr.) was observed in a wholesale propagation nursery in Baton Rouge, LA in September 2002. The grower reported that plants wilted and then completely rotted. The disease occurred during a period of hot, humid, and cloudy weather. Approximately 100 flats of flowering-age plants of cvs. Rose and White Madness were destroyed. No fungal sporulation was noticed on dead plants, but occasional strands of white mycelium were observed. The grower's use of azoxystrobin, iprodione, and thiophanate methyl plus mancozeb fungicides during current and past outbreaks of this disease did not prevent disease spread, but disease activity stopped after temperature and humidity dropped in early October. A fungus that produced white aerial mycelia that later developed light yellow areas and also black aerial spore masses was consistently isolated from diseased tissue placed on acidified potato dextrose agar (APDA). The fungus was identified as Choanephora cucurbitar...