Chrysomyxa abietis (needle rust of fir)
- Summary of Invasiveness
- Taxonomic Tree
- Distribution Table
- Habitat List
- Growth Stages
- List of Symptoms/Signs
- Biology and Ecology
- Means of Movement and Dispersal
- Pathway Causes
- Pathway Vectors
- Plant Trade
- Impact Summary
- Impact: Economic
- Risk and Impact Factors
- Detection and Inspection
- Similarities to Other Species/Conditions
- Prevention and Control
- Gaps in Knowledge/Research Needs
- Distribution Maps
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PicturesTop of page
IdentityTop of page
Preferred Scientific Name
- Chrysomyxa abietis (Wallr.) Unger 1840
Preferred Common Name
- needle rust of fir
Other Scientific Names
- Blennoria abietis Wallr. 1834
International Common Names
- English: needle: spruce rust; spruce needle rust
- Spanish: roya de las aciculas del abeto
- French: rouille des aiguilles de l'epicea
Local Common Names
- Germany: Nadel-: Fichte Rost
- CHMYAB (Chrysomyxa abietis)
Summary of InvasivenessTop of page
C. abietis is a microcyclic rust fungus; an obligate parasite completing its life cycle on species of Picea (spruce). Only the current year’s needles of Picea are infected and those needles are shed early. Reported from northern Europe and Asia, the fungus is a Regulated Pest for the USA. It is absent from North America, where susceptible species are native, and Australia and New Zealand, where they are introduced. Although usually not a significant problem in its native range, because conditions are not favourable for heavy infections every year (Smith et al., 1988; Hansen, 1997), this rust could be more damaging as an invasive in other temperate areas. Due to the fact that small amounts of infection may be overlooked, accidental introduction could occur through importation of infected seedlings or young trees.
Taxonomic TreeTop of page
- Domain: Eukaryota
- Kingdom: Fungi
- Phylum: Basidiomycota
- Subphylum: Pucciniomycotina
- Class: Pucciniomycetes
- Order: Pucciniales
- Family: Coleosporiaceae
- Genus: Chrysomyxa
- Species: Chrysomyxa abietis
DescriptionTop of page
C. abieitis is an autoecious microcyclic rust, producing the telial stage on the needles of species of Picea.
Teliahypophyllous, on yellow to orange spots or bands, elongate, erumpent, waxy, orange to orange-brown; teliospores aseptate, hyaline, oblong to ovoid-obovoid, 14-42 x 9-16 µm (mean 25 x 12 µm), wall thin, smooth, produced in easily separating chains from branched hyphae.
Thin-walled haploid basidiospores, produced by germinating teliospores, infect young needles in the spring, but spermagonia, the mating structures in other rusts, are unknown (Wilson and Henderson, 1966; Hiratsuka et al., 1992).
DistributionTop of page
This rust is present in northern and eastern Europe and in northern Asia (UK CAB International, 1989). It is uncommon in the UK (Wilson and Henderson, 1966; Ellis and Ellis, 1997). It is known to occur in European Russia and the Baltic countries (Kuprevich and Tranzschel, 1957), Siberia, and the Caucasus region (Hiratsuka et al., 1992). In China, it is only reported on one species of Picea, in one central province (Cao et al., 2000). Takahashi and Saho (1985) describe evidence of a possible different race on the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido. Although there was one known introduction to the USA in 1907 (Spaulding, 1961), this species is not currently found in North America, where susceptible spruce species are native, or Australia and New Zealand, where they have been introduced (USDA-ARS, 2009).
Distribution TableTop of page
The distribution in this summary table is based on all the information available. When several references are cited, they may give conflicting information on the status. Further details may be available for individual references in the Distribution Table Details section which can be selected by going to Generate Report.
|Continent/Country/Region||Distribution||Last Reported||Origin||First Reported||Invasive||Reference||Notes|
|China||Present||Cao et al., 2000|
|-Shaanxi||Present||Cao et al., 2000||Qinling Mountains|
|Japan||Present||Kobayashi, 2007; EPPO, 2014|
|-Hokkaido||Present||CAB Abstracts; Takahashi and Saho, 1985|
|Kazakhstan||Present||UK CAB International, 1989; EPPO, 2014|
|Kyrgyzstan||Present||UK CAB International, 1989; EPPO, 2014|
|Austria||Present||UK CAB International, 1989; EPPO, 2014|
|Belgium||Present||Mordue and Gibson, 1978; EPPO, 2014|
|Bulgaria||Widespread||Mordue and Gibson, 1978; EPPO, 2014|
|Czech Republic||Present||Not invasive||BPI, US National Fungus Collections; EPPO, 2014||BPI 1901|
|Czechoslovakia (former)||Restricted distribution||UK CAB International, 1989; EPPO, 2014|
|Denmark||Present||Mordue and Gibson, 1978; EPPO, 2014|
|Estonia||Present||Not invasive||Kuprevich and Transchel, 1957|
|Finland||Restricted distribution||Mäkinen, 1964; UK CAB International, 1989; EPPO, 2014|
|France||Present||Mordue and Gibson, 1978; EPPO, 2014|
|Germany||Widespread||Mordue and Gibson, 1978; EPPO, 2014|
|Hungary||Widespread||UK CAB International, 1989; EPPO, 2014|
|Italy||Present||UK CAB International, 1989; EPPO, 2014|
|Latvia||Present||UK CAB International, 1989; EPPO, 2014|
|Lithuania||Present||UK CAB International, 1989; EPPO, 2014|
|Norway||Widespread||Mordue and Gibson, 1978; EPPO, 2014|
|Poland||Present||Mordue and Gibson, 1978; EPPO, 2014|
|Romania||Present||UK CAB International, 1989; EPPO, 2014|
|Russian Federation||Restricted distribution||UK CAB International, 1989; EPPO, 2014|
|-Central Russia||Present||Not invasive||UK CAB International, 1989|
|-Northern Russia||Present||Not invasive||Kuprevich and Transchel, 1957|
|-Russia (Europe)||Present||EPPO, 2014|
|-Russian Far East||Present||Azbukina, 1984|
|Spain||Present||UK CAB International, 1989; EPPO, 2014|
|Sweden||Widespread||Mordue and Gibson, 1978; EPPO, 2014|
|Switzerland||Restricted distribution||Mordue and Gibson, 1978; EPPO, 2014|
|UK||Widespread||Collins, 1976b; Mordue and Gibson, 1978; EPPO, 2014|
|-England and Wales||Widespread||EPPO, 2014|
|-Northern Ireland||Present||EPPO, 2014|
IntroductionsTop of page
Habitat ListTop of page
|Terrestrial – Managed||Managed forests, plantations and orchards||Present, no further details||Harmful (pest or invasive)|
|Terrestrial ‑ Natural / Semi-natural||Natural forests||Present, no further details||Harmful (pest or invasive)|
Growth StagesTop of page Vegetative growing stage
SymptomsTop of page
Infections only occur on the current year’s needles. Light-yellow spots appear at points of infection, usually merging to form deep yellow transverse bands across the leaf. If infection is extensive, trees or entire stands may appear yellow rather than green. Most of the infected needles are dropped the following spring, after telia have matured and sporulated (Murray, 1955; Wilson and Henderson, 1966; Mordue and Gibson, 1978).
List of Symptoms/SignsTop of page
|Leaves / abnormal colours|
|Leaves / abnormal leaf fall|
|Leaves / fungal growth|
|Leaves / yellowed or dead|
Biology and EcologyTop of page
Thin-walled haploid basidiospores infect young needles in the spring; only the young needles are susceptible. Basidiospores release occurs at night during a period of weeks that roughly corresponds to the time of the new needle flush (Collins, 1976a). Infection is heaviest when the spring is cold, so that shoot growth is delayed and susceptible needles are more numerous at the time of basidiospore dissemination (Murray, 1953). Spermagonia, the mating structures in rusts, are not produced (Hiratsuka et al., 1992), and plasmogamy between haploid mycelium occurs within the needle (Wilson and Henderson, 1966). As multiplication on an alternate host is not required, epidemics of this rust can develop quickly in favourable conditions (Hansen, 1997). Telia develop on the current year’s needles in autumn, persist over winter, and erupt through the epidermis to produce and disseminate basidiospores in the spring (Smith et al., 1988).
ClimateTop of page
|Cf - Warm temperate climate, wet all year||Preferred||Warm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, wet all year|
|Dw - Continental climate with dry winter||Preferred||Continental climate with dry winter (Warm average temp. > 10°C, coldest month < 0°C, dry winters)|
Means of Movement and DispersalTop of page
Pathway VectorsTop of page
Plant TradeTop of page
|Plant parts liable to carry the pest in trade/transport||Pest stages||Borne internally||Borne externally||Visibility of pest or symptoms|
|Leaves||hyphae; spores||Yes||Pest or symptoms not visible to the naked eye but usually visible under light microscope|
|Plant parts not known to carry the pest in trade/transport|
|Fruits (inc. pods)|
|Growing medium accompanying plants|
|Stems (above ground)/Shoots/Trunks/Branches|
|True seeds (inc. grain)|
Impact SummaryTop of page
Impact: EconomicTop of page
Infections will reduce tree growth in severe years. Otherwise, losses are slight and transient, except when seedlings or young trees are exposed to heavy inoculum from nearby sources (Collins, 1976b; Hansen, 1997). Takahashi and Saho (1985) describe an epidemic in a plantation of Picea engelmannii seedlings, which resulted in a 90% infection rate and the need to destroy all of the seedlings.
Risk and Impact FactorsTop of page Invasiveness
- Has a broad native range
- Has high reproductive potential
- Host damage
- Negatively impacts forestry
- Reduced amenity values
- Difficult to identify/detect as a commodity contaminant
- Difficult to identify/detect in the field
Detection and InspectionTop of page
Yellow transverse bands appear in the current year’s new needles. Linear orange-brown telia are produced in those bands on the undersides of the needles in late summer or autumn, and persist through the winter (Wilson and Henderson, 1966; Smith et al., 1988).
Similarities to Other Species/ConditionsTop of page
There are a number of species of Chrysomyxa and other genera of rusts on Picea in different areas of the Northern Hemisphere, but most either infect only the cone scales and/or produce the aecial stage, not the telial stage, on the conifer host. The aeciospores of those heteroecious rusts are yellow-orange, strongly warted, and produced in chains with alternating disjunctor cells (Crane, 2001) and are thus quite different from C. abietis. Of the species that produce telia on needles of Picea, Chrysomyxa weirii in North America and Asia has narrower, hyaline, oblong to fusiform teliospores, 16-28 x 5-7 µm, in unbranched chains (Weir, 1923); in Asia, Chrysomyxa piceae [Ceropsora piceae] has large teliospores measuring 98-154 x 14-24 µm, that are not in chains (Mordue and Gibson, 1978).
Melampsorella caryophyllacearum causes witches’ broom symptoms, the proliferation of shoots, primarily on firs, but it is reported on Picea in the USA (Anon., 1964). Like other heteroecious rusts, this species produces aecia containing orange-yellow, warted aeciospores on infected needles (Hiratsuka et al., 1992).
Pucciniastrum areolatum (Thekopsora areolata) produces aecia on cone scales, not needles, of Picea in northern Europe and northern Asia (Hiratsuka et al., 1992).
According to Sinclair and Lyon (2005), yellowing and defoliation may occur to the current year’s needles of certain spruce species as a result of fluoride injury. Chlorosis develops from needle tips and the affected portion eventually turns red-brown. Older needles also develop symptoms, but more slowly. Other sensitive species growing nearby would show injury symptoms, and a source of the air pollutant maybe could be identified.
See also USDA/APHIS (2008).
Prevention and ControlTop of page
Gaps in Knowledge/Research NeedsTop of page
Variation in rust genotype and differences in susceptibility of hosts have not been examined. No DNA sequence for this species is available in the GenBank database.
ReferencesTop of page
BPI (US National Fungus Collections), 2009. Fungal Databases - Specimens. Beltsville, USA: Systematic Mycology and Microbiology Laboratory, Agricultural Research Service, USDA. www.nt.ars-grin.gov/fungaldatabases/specimens/specimens.cfm
Cech TL, 2007. Actual and new needle diseases of Christmas trees in Austria. Acta Silv. Lign. Hung., Special Edition., 264. http://www.nyme.hu/fileadmin/dokumentumok/fmk/acta_silvatica/cikkek/VolE3-2007/38_cech.pdf
Crane PE, 2001. Morphology, taxonomy, and nomenclature of the Chrysomyxa ledi complex and related rust fungi on spruce and Ericaceae in North America and Europe. Canadian Journal of Botany, 79(8):957-982.
EPPO, 2014. PQR database. Paris, France: European and Mediterranean Plant Protection Organization. http://www.eppo.int/DATABASES/pqr/pqr.htm
Grill D; Fachbach G; Brunegger A, 1983. [English title not available]. (REM-Beitrag zum Befall von Chrysomyxa abietis Teleutosporenlagern durch Mückenlarven) European Journal of Forest Pathology, 13:409-414.
Hiratsuka N; Sato S; Katsuya K; Kakishima M; Hiratsuka Y; Kaneko S; Ono Y; Sato T; Harada Y; Hiratsuka T; Nakayama K, 1992. The Rust Flora of Japan. Takezono, Ibaraki, Japan: Tsukuba Shuppankai, 1205 pp.
Schrader B; Hennon P, 2005. Assessment of invasive species in Alaska and its national forests. USA: University of Alaska at Fairbanks. http://www.uaf.edu/ces/aiswg/pdf-documents/R10_Inv_Spp_Assessmt.pdf
USDA/APHIS, 2008. Circular 34: Diseases of Picea spp. Post-entry Quarantine Manual for State Inspectors. Washington DC, USA: USDA, 10-152. http://www.aphis.usda.gov/import_export/plants/manuals/domestic/downloads/postentry.pdf
Weir JR, 1923. The genus Chrysomyxa. Mycologia, 15:183-187.
ContributorsTop of page
10/09/09 Original text by:
Distribution MapsTop of page
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