Survival and Dissemination of Fern Anthracnose (Colletotrichum acutatum) Spores in Commercial Ferneries

D J Norman, J O Strandberg


Fern anthracnose, Colletotrichum acutatum, is a highly contagious disease in commercial ferneries causing the immature fronds of leatherleaf fern to become unmarketable for floral use. This research identifies sources that could disseminate primary inoculum, examines pathways of spore spread in commercial ferneries and defines factors relating to spore longevity and survival. Spores of C. acutatumwere found to survive up to 36 d on the surfaces of leatherleaf fronds and up to 49 d in leaf debris on the soil surface. Spores were able to survive up to 42 d on metal, rubber, or wood surfaces which could function as a major mechanism of spread. Significant differences in spore counts on the clothing of workers were found following harvesting activities under wet or dry foliage conditions. Temperature affected both spore survival and germination.


cut foliage, fern anthracnose, leatherleaf fern

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Proc. Fla. State Hort. Soc.     ISSN 0886-7283