Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Ilyonectria palmarum sp. nov. causing dry basal stem rot of Arecaceae.

Abstract

During surveys conducted in 2010-2013, a complete breakage or bending of the trunk and a dry basal stem rot were observed on containerised Brahea armata, B. edulis, Howea forsteriana and Trachycarpus princeps plants in different nurseries located in eastern Sicily (southern Italy). A cylindrocarpon-like species was consistently obtained from diseased palm tissues, while known pathogens of these hosts such as Ganoderma, Phytophthora and Thielaviopsis were not found associated with symptomatic tissues or isolated on standard or selective media. A total of 40 cylindrocarpon-like isolates were collected and characterised based on morphology and DNA phylogeny. Multigene analyses based on the β-tubulin, histone H3, translation elongation factor 1-α, and the internal transcribed spacers (ITS1, 5.8S, ITS2) genes facilitated the identification of a new species, described here as Ilyonectria palmarum. The pathogenicity of one representative isolate collected from each palm species was tested on plants cultivated under nursery conditions and in a growth chamber. All isolates were pathogenic to B. armata, B. edulis, H. forsteriana, and T. princeps and symptoms identical to that observed in nurseries were reproduced. Dry basal stem rot and stem bending caused by Ilyonectria palmarum represents a potentially serious problem for nurseries cultivating containerised palms.