Southern Forests: a Journal of Forest Science

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Lasiodiplodia species associated with dying Euphorbia ingens in South Africa

JA van der Linde, DL Six, MJ Wingfield, J Roux


Various species of Euphorbia occur in South Africa, including herbaceous, succulent and woody types. The largest of the succulent Euphorbia spp. in South Africa is Euphorbia ingens. These trees have been dying at an alarming rate in the Limpopo province during the course of the last 15 years. Investigations into the possible causes of the death have included the possible role of fungal pathogens. Amongst the fungi isolated from diseased trees were species in the Botryosphaeriaceae. The aim of this study was to identify these fungi using morphology and DNA sequence data of two gene regions (TEF 1-α and ITS). Results showed that Lasiodiplodia theobromae and L. mahajangana were present, representing the first report of Lasiodiplodia species on a succulent Euphorbia species. Pathogenicity studies showed that these Lasiodiplodia species can cause infections on healthy E. ingens trees, implicating them as contributors to the decline of E. ingens.

Keywords: Botryosphaeriaceae, candelabra trees, climate change, insect infestations, tree diseases

Southern Forests 2011, 73(3&4): 165–173

AJOL African Journals Online