Considerable losses of citrus trees have been observed in the major citrus-growing areas of Spain. Samples were collected from 132 orchards, and isolations and pathogencity tests were conducted to determine the aetiology of a serious canker disease. Affected trees showed cankers on the scion that frequently began on the branches. Three Phytophthora species were identified based on their morphological, cultural, physiological and molecular profiles. Phytophthora citrophthora was the main species associated with this new syndrome in 114 orchards. Phytophthora nicotianae (syn. P. parasitica) was isolated from nine orchards as the sole Phytophthora species and in coinfection with P. citrophthora from another nine orchards. Phytophthora citricola was isolated only from one orchard. In stem-inoculation studies conducted under greenhouse conditions, clementine mandarin cv. Hernandina and sweet orange cv. Navel Late were more susceptible to P. citrophthora than sour orange and Carrizo citrange rootstocks. Clementine cv. Hernandina was also highly susceptible in field inoculation experiments. In agreement with field surveys, clementine mandarin cultivars were the most affected, their rootstocks remaining healthy. Phytophthora citrophthora was found to be the predominant species in orchard soils; however, P. nicotianae was also isolated. This information changes the scenario of diseases caused by Phytophthora spp. in Spain and consequently, the present knowledge of epidemiology and the effectiveness of the current control measures should be reassessed.
- Clementine mandarin
- Phytophthora parasitica