Crone, M., McComb, J. A., O'Brien, P. A., Hardy, G. E. S. J.Assessment of Australian native annual/herbaceous perennial plant species as asymptomatic or symptomatic hosts of Phytophthora cinnamomi under controlled conditions. Forest Pathology. doi: 10.1111/efp.12027
Phytophthora cinnamomi is a necrotrophic pathogen of woody perennials and devastates many biomes worldwide. A controlled perlite–hydroponic system with no other hyphae-producing organisms as contaminants present allowed rapid assessment of ten annual and herbaceous perennial plant species most of which have a wide distribution within the jarrah (Eucalyptus marginata) forest in Western Australia where this pathogen has been introduced. As some annuals and herbaceous perennials have recently been reported as symptomatic and asymptomatic hosts, laboratory screening of some of the field-tested annuals and herbaceous perennials and additional species was used to further evaluate their role in the pathogen's disease cycle. Nine of the species challenged with the pathogen were asymptomatic, with none developing root lesions; however, Trachymene pilosa died. The pathogen produced thick-walled chlamydospores and stromata in the asymptomatic roots. Furthermore, haustoria were observed in the roots, indicating that the pathogen was growing as a biotroph in these hosts.