Pathogenicity, Symptom Development, and Colonization of Metrosideros polymorpha by Ceratocystis lukuohia
Extensive mortality of Metrosideros polymorpha (`ōhi`a) trees has been associated with Ceratocystis spp. on Hawai`i Island and was named rapid `ōhi`a death (ROD). Both C. lukuohia and C. huliohia have been associated with ROD, although C. lukuohia appears to be the more important pathogen. Crown observations and dissections of forest trees either wound-inoculated with, or naturally-infected by, C. lukuohia were conducted to confirm pathogenicity and document patterns of host colonization. In pathogenicity trials, one of three and two of three trees inoculated with the fungus in February and August, respectively, exhibited crown wilt symptoms at 92 and 69 days after inoculation. Extensive, radial, black staining of the sapwood was found in main stems, while no crown wilt or xylem staining was found in control trees. Xylem staining, necrotic phloem and fungus presence was noted in six trees inoculated in May to June and harvested 37 to 42 days later, and these observations were compared to those in two naturally-infected trees felled in early August. Contiguous xylem staining was found in the main stems and into crowns of all diseased trees, while discontinuous streaks of xylem staining extended into the main forks and side branches. Necrotic phloem associated with xylem staining occurred on the lower stems of inoculated trees. Aside from the necrotic phloem and radial staining of the sapwood, symptom development in `ōhi`a infected with C. lukuohia is similar to other systemic wilt diseases on hardwood trees. We propose Ceratocystis wilt of `ōhi`a as the official name of the disease.
Keywords`ohi`a; rapid `ohi`a death; vascular wilt disease; Hawai`i
Hughes, Marc A.; Juzwik, Jennifer; Harrington, Thomas C.; Keith, Lisa M. 2020. Pathogenicity, Symptom Development, and Colonization of Metrosideros polymorpha by Ceratocystis lukuohia . Plant Disease. 104(8): 2233-2241. https://doi.org/10.1094/PDIS-09-19-1905-RE.