Survival of Phytophthora cinnamomi as oospores, stromata, and thick-walled chlamydospores in roots of symptomatic and asymptomatic annual and herbaceous perennial plant species.
Studies were conducted to determine how Phytophthora cinnamomi survives during hot and dry Mediterranean summers in areas with limited surviving susceptible hosts. Two Western Australian herbaceous perennials Chamaescilla corymbosa and Stylidium diuroides and one Western Australian annual Trachymene pilosa were collected weekly from a naturally infested site from the Eucalyptus marginata (jarrah) forest from winter to spring and less frequently during summer 2011/2012. Selfed oospores, thick-walled chlamydospores, and stromata of P. cinnamomi were observed in each species. Oospores and thick-walled chlamydospores germinated in planta confirming their viability. This is the first report of autogamy by P. cinnamomi in naturally infected plants. Stromata, reported for the first time for P. cinnamomi, were densely aggregated inside host cells, and germinated in planta with multiple germ tubes with hyphae capable of producing oospores and chlamydospores. Trachymene pilosa was completely asymptomatic, S. diuroides did not develop root lesions but some plants wilted, whilst C. corymbosa remained asymptomatic above ground but lesions developed on some tubers. The presence of haustoria suggests that P. cinnamomi grows biotrophically in some hosts. Asymptomatic, biotrophic growth of P. cinnamomi in some annual and herbaceous perennials and the production of a range of survival structures have implications for pathogen persistence over summer and its management.