Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Datasheet

Chrysomyxa abietis
(needle rust of fir)

Toolbox

Datasheet

Chrysomyxa abietis (needle rust of fir)

Summary

  • Last modified
  • 27 September 2018
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Documented Species
  • Pest
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • Chrysomyxa abietis
  • Preferred Common Name
  • needle rust of fir
  • Taxonomic Tree
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •   Kingdom: Fungi
  •     Phylum: Basidiomycota
  •       Subphylum: Pucciniomycotina
  •         Class: Pucciniomycetes
  • Summary of Invasiveness
  • 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 sh...

Don't need the entire report?

Generate a print friendly version containing only the sections you need.

Generate report

Pictures

Top of page
PictureTitleCaptionCopyright
Needles showing yellowed bands, waxy immature telia and erumpent telia on Picea sp. Original X7.5.
TitleSymptoms
CaptionNeedles showing yellowed bands, waxy immature telia and erumpent telia on Picea sp. Original X7.5.
CopyrightUSDA-ARS/Systematic Mycology & Microbiology Laboratory
Needles showing yellowed bands, waxy immature telia and erumpent telia on Picea sp. Original X7.5.
SymptomsNeedles showing yellowed bands, waxy immature telia and erumpent telia on Picea sp. Original X7.5.USDA-ARS/Systematic Mycology & Microbiology Laboratory
Chrysomyxa abietis; telium in cross-section, on Picea sp. Original X200.
TitleTelium
CaptionChrysomyxa abietis; telium in cross-section, on Picea sp. Original X200.
CopyrightUSDA-ARS/Systematic Mycology & Microbiology Laboratory
Chrysomyxa abietis; telium in cross-section, on Picea sp. Original X200.
TeliumChrysomyxa abietis; telium in cross-section, on Picea sp. Original X200. USDA-ARS/Systematic Mycology & Microbiology Laboratory
Teliospore chain on Picea abies. Original X400.
TitleTeliospore chain
CaptionTeliospore chain on Picea abies. Original X400.
CopyrightUSDA-ARS/Systematic Mycology & Microbiology Laboratory
Teliospore chain on Picea abies. Original X400.
Teliospore chainTeliospore chain on Picea abies. Original X400.USDA-ARS/Systematic Mycology & Microbiology Laboratory
Teliospore chains, on Picea abies. Original X400.
TitleTeliospore chains
CaptionTeliospore chains, on Picea abies. Original X400.
CopyrightUSDA-ARS/Systematic Mycology & Microbiology Laboratory
Teliospore chains, on Picea abies. Original X400.
Teliospore chainsTeliospore chains, on Picea abies. Original X400.USDA-ARS/Systematic Mycology & Microbiology Laboratory

Identity

Top 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

EPPO code

  • CHMYAB (Chrysomyxa abietis)

Summary of Invasiveness

Top 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 Tree

Top of page
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •     Kingdom: Fungi
  •         Phylum: Basidiomycota
  •             Subphylum: Pucciniomycotina
  •                 Class: Pucciniomycetes
  •                     Order: Pucciniales
  •                         Family: Coleosporiaceae
  •                             Genus: Chrysomyxa
  •                                 Species: Chrysomyxa abietis

Description

Top 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).

See Mordue and Gibson (1978) and Hiratsuka et al. (1992).

Distribution

Top 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 Table

Top 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/RegionDistributionLast ReportedOriginFirst ReportedInvasiveReferenceNotes

Asia

ChinaPresentCao et al., 2000
-ShaanxiPresentCao et al., 2000Qinling Mountains
JapanPresentKobayashi, 2007; EPPO, 2014
-HokkaidoPresentCAB Abstracts; Takahashi and Saho, 1985
-HonshuPresent
KazakhstanPresentUK CAB International, 1989; EPPO, 2014
KyrgyzstanPresentUK CAB International, 1989; EPPO, 2014

Europe

AustriaPresentUK CAB International, 1989; EPPO, 2014
BelgiumPresentMordue and Gibson, 1978; EPPO, 2014
BulgariaWidespreadMordue and Gibson, 1978; EPPO, 2014
Czech RepublicPresent Not invasive BPI, US National Fungus Collections; EPPO, 2014BPI 1901
Czechoslovakia (former)Restricted distributionUK CAB International, 1989; EPPO, 2014
DenmarkPresentMordue and Gibson, 1978; EPPO, 2014
EstoniaPresent Not invasive Kuprevich and Transchel, 1957
FinlandRestricted distributionMäkinen, 1964; UK CAB International, 1989; EPPO, 2014
FrancePresentMordue and Gibson, 1978; EPPO, 2014
GermanyWidespreadMordue and Gibson, 1978; EPPO, 2014
HungaryWidespreadUK CAB International, 1989; EPPO, 2014
ItalyPresentUK CAB International, 1989; EPPO, 2014
LatviaPresentUK CAB International, 1989; EPPO, 2014
LithuaniaPresentUK CAB International, 1989; EPPO, 2014
NorwayWidespreadMordue and Gibson, 1978; EPPO, 2014
PolandPresentMordue and Gibson, 1978; EPPO, 2014
RomaniaPresentUK CAB International, 1989; EPPO, 2014
Russian FederationRestricted distributionUK CAB International, 1989; EPPO, 2014
-Central RussiaPresent Not invasive UK CAB International, 1989
-Eastern SiberiaPresent
-Northern RussiaPresent Not invasive Kuprevich and Transchel, 1957
-Russia (Europe)PresentEPPO, 2014
-Russian Far EastPresentAzbukina, 1984
SpainPresentUK CAB International, 1989; EPPO, 2014
SwedenWidespreadMordue and Gibson, 1978; EPPO, 2014
SwitzerlandRestricted distributionMordue and Gibson, 1978; EPPO, 2014
UKWidespreadCollins, 1976b; Mordue and Gibson, 1978; EPPO, 2014
-England and WalesWidespreadEPPO, 2014
-Northern IrelandPresentEPPO, 2014
-ScotlandPresentEPPO, 2014

Introductions

Top of page
Introduced toIntroduced fromYearReasonIntroduced byEstablished in wild throughReferencesNotes
Natural reproductionContinuous restocking
Kentucky Denmark 1907 Nursery trade (pathway cause) No Spaulding (1961)

Habitat List

Top of page
CategorySub-CategoryHabitatPresenceStatus
Terrestrial
Terrestrial – ManagedManaged forests, plantations and orchards Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Terrestrial ‑ Natural / Semi-naturalNatural forests Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)

Growth Stages

Top of page Vegetative growing stage

Symptoms

Top 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/Signs

Top of page
SignLife StagesType
Leaves / abnormal colours
Leaves / abnormal leaf fall
Leaves / fungal growth
Leaves / yellowed or dead

Biology and Ecology

Top 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).

Associations
 
Telia are sometimes parasitized by the fungus Eudarluca caricis (Murray, 1953), and may be fed upon by larvae of cecidomyiid flies (Grill et al., 1983).

Climate

Top of page
ClimateStatusDescriptionRemark
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 Dispersal

Top of page

Natural Dispersal

Sporidia (basidiospores) are distributed by the wind and rain (Collins, 1976a).
 
Accidental Introduction
 
This rust species was introduced once, without establishment, into the USA on nursery stock of Picea abies from Denmark in 1907 (Spaulding, 1961). Importation on live plant material for ornamental use, including the production of Christmas trees, is still considered the likely means of accidental introduction (Schrader and Hennon, 2005; Cech, 2007).

Pathway Causes

Top of page
CauseNotesLong DistanceLocalReferences
Nursery trade Yes Spaulding, 1961

Pathway Vectors

Top of page
VectorNotesLong DistanceLocalReferences
Plants or parts of plants Yes Yes Schrader and Hennon, 2005; Takahashi and Saho, 1985
WindBasidiospores Yes Collins, 1976a

Plant Trade

Top of page
Plant parts liable to carry the pest in trade/transportPest stagesBorne internallyBorne externallyVisibility 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
Bark
Bulbs/Tubers/Corms/Rhizomes
Flowers/Inflorescences/Cones/Calyx
Fruits (inc. pods)
Growing medium accompanying plants
Roots
Seedlings/Micropropagated plants
Stems (above ground)/Shoots/Trunks/Branches
True seeds (inc. grain)
Wood

Impact Summary

Top of page
CategoryImpact
Economic/livelihood Negative

Impact: Economic

Top 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 Factors

Top of page Invasiveness
  • Has a broad native range
  • Has high reproductive potential
Impact outcomes
  • Host damage
  • Negatively impacts forestry
  • Reduced amenity values
Impact mechanisms
  • Pathogenic
Likelihood of entry/control
  • Difficult to identify/detect as a commodity contaminant
  • Difficult to identify/detect in the field

Detection and Inspection

Top 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/Conditions

Top 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 Control

Top of page

Prevention

Introduction on nursery stock or ornamental products should be prevented (Spaulding, 1961; Schrader and Hennon, 2005; Cech, 2007).
 
Cultural Control
 
Sources of inoculum should be removed from the neighbourhood of nurseries and Christmas tree plantations (Hansen, 1997; Cech, 2007). Thinning to improve air flow in young dense stands of plantations may be worthwhile (Smith et al., 1988).
 
Chemical Control
 
Chemical applications could be feasible for nurseries and Christmas tree plantations, but cultural controls are preferred (Hansen, 1997).
 
Host Resistance
 
Variation in susceptibility or severity of disease among Picea species has, in general, not been recorded. Picea mariana is one of the North American species planted in Europe (Spaulding, 1956) for which there is no report of susceptibility to C. abietis. Takahishi and Saho (1985) report observations in Japan of rust-host interactions different from those known in Europe, suggesting the existence of a race of the fungus; selection of resistant species for cultivation in Japan is possible. Only one species of host is recorded from China (Cao et al., 2000), and the susceptibility is not known of others particular to China and central Asia, such as the Himalayan Picea smithiana (USDA-ARS, 2009).

Gaps in Knowledge/Research Needs

Top 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.

References

Top of page

Anon, 1964. Diseases of Widely Planted Forest Trees. US Forest Service Department of Agriculture. Washington DC, USA: United States Government Printing Office, 237 pp.

Azbukina ZM, 1984. Key to rust fungi of the Soviet Far East. Moscow, USSR: Izdatelstvo Nauka, 288 pp.

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

Cao ZhiMin; Li ZhenQi; Zhuang JianYun, 2000. Uredinales from the Qinling Mountains. Mycosystema, 19(1):13-23.

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

Collins MA, 1976. A note on the distribution of Chrysomyxa abietis Unger in Scotland. Scottish Forestry, 30(2):127-130.

Collins MA, 1976. Periodicity of spore liberation in Chrysomyxa abietis. Transactions of the British Mycological Society, 67(2):336-339.

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.

Ellis MB; Ellis JP, 1997. Microfungi on land plants: an identification handbook. Ed. 2. Slough, UK: Richmond Publishing Company Ltd., 868 pp.

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.

Hansen E, 1997. Needle and broom rusts. In: Compendium of conifer diseases [ed. by Hansen EM, Lewis KJ] Minnesota, USA: American Phytopathological Society Press, 51-53.

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.

Kobayashi T, 2007. Index of Fungi Inhabiting Woody Plants in Japan. Host, Distribution and Literature. Tokyo, Japan: Zenkoku-Noson-Kyiku Kyokai Publishing Co. Ltd., 1227 pp.

Kuprevich V; Transchel V, 1957. Cryptogamic plants of the USSR, Vol. IV, Rust Fungi. No. 1, Family Melampsoraceae. Moscow, USSR: USSR Academy of Sciences.

Mordue JEM; Gibson IAS, 1978. Chrysomyxa abietis. [Descriptions of Fungi and Bacteria]. IMI Descriptions of Fungi and Bacteria. Wallingford, UK: CAB International, Sheet 576.

Murray JS, 1953. A note on the outbreak of Chrysomyxa abietis Unger (Spruce needle rust) in Scotland, 1951. Scottish Forestry, 7(2):52-6.

Murray JS, 1955. Rusts of British Forest Trees. Forestry Commission Booklet No. 4. London, UK: Her Majesty's Stationery Office, 15 pp.

Mäkinen Y, 1964. On Finnish micromycetes. 4. On the distribution of rusts in Finland. Annales Botanici Fennici, 1(3):214-219.

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

Sinclair WA; Lyon H, 2005. Diseases of Trees and Shrubs. Second edition. Ithaca, USA: Cornell University Press, 660 pp.

Smith IM; Dunez J; Lelliott RA; Phillips DH; Archer SA(Editors), 1988. European handbook of plant diseases. Oxford, UK: Blackwell Scientific Publications.

Spaulding P, 1956. Diseases of North American forest trees planted abroad: an annotated list. Agric. Handb. U.S. Dep. Agric, No. 100:144.

Spaulding P, 1961. Foreign Diseases of Forest Trees of the World. USDA Agricultural Handbook no. 197. Washington DC, USA: United States Government Printing Office, 361 pp.

Takahashi O; Saho H, 1985. Notes on the Japanese rust fungi IX. Dissemination of Chrysomyxa abietis (Wallroth) Unger. Transactions of the Mycological Society of Japan, 26(4):433-439.

UK CAB International, 1989. Chrysomyxa abietis. [Distribution map]. Distribution Maps of Plant Diseases. Wallingford, UK: CAB International, Map 615.

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.

Wilson M; Henderson DM, 1966. British Rust Fungi. Cambridge, UK: The Cambridge University Press, xvii + 384 pp.

Contributors

Top of page

10/09/09 Original text by:

Systematic Mycology & Microbiology Laboratory, USDA-ARS, 10300 Baltimore Ave., Beltsville, MD 20705, USA

Distribution Maps

Top of page
You can pan and zoom the map
Save map