First report of root rot and stem canker caused by Phytophthora cambivora on noble fir (Abies procera) for bough production in Norway

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Plant Disease, Volume 90, Number 5, p.682-682 (2006)



In 2004, damages resembling those caused by Phytophthora spp. were observed in a 15-year-old bough plantation of noble fir (Abies procera). When removing bark upward from the roots and base of a diseased tree, a reddish brown discoloration with distinct borders to surrounding wood appeared. The discoloration extended approximately 1.5 m above ground, but only on one side of the stem. This resulted in dead basal branches (flagging) on the cankered side of the tree. Other dying trees in the same field did not show flagging symptoms but turned chlorotic to brown after being girdled by the expanding stem canker. Approximately 25% of the trees were dead or dying. Isolations were carried out from the area between healthy and diseased tissue both from roots and base of the stem of the tree with flagging symptoms. Samples were rinsed in running tap water and plated on the Phytophthora selective medium PARP (17 g of cornmeal agar, 10 mg of pimaricin, 250 mg of ampicillin, 10 mg of rifampicin, and 100 mg of pentachloronitrobenzene (PCNB) in 1 liter of water), with and without hymexazol added (50 mg/l). Morphological characters of the isolated Phytophthora sp. included nonpapillate sporangia (37 to 64 μm), internal proliferation, and characteristic hyphal swellings. The isolate was heterothallic and produced amphigynous antheridia when crossed with tester strains of P. cryptogea. The mating type was A2. The internal transcribed spacer (ITS) rDNA sequences were identical to P. cambivora (GenBank Accession No. AY880985). Thus, both morphological characters and DNA analysis supported the species identification. A pathogenesis test to fulfill Koch’s postulate was carried out during 2005. Inoculation was done by placing agar with culture in the growth medium close to the roots of noble fir seedlings. Eleven weeks after inoculation, clearly visible stem canker symptoms were observed. The ITS sequences of the reisolated Phytophthora sp. were determined and found identical to P. cambivora. P. cambivora was reported to cause root rot and stem canker in a noble fir Christmas tree plantation in the United States (1). P. citricola and P. citrophthora are known to cause problems on Lawson Falsecypress/Port-Orford-cedar (Chamaecyparis lawsoniana) in Norway, but damages by Phytophthora spp. have never been reported in Abies spp. plantations or forest stands in Norway. Currently, we are also working on Phytophthora problems discovered in two different Christmas tree plantations (A. lasiocarpa and A. nordmanniana).