European blackberry (Rubus fruticosus agg.) is an aggregate of closely related taxa, with at least 15 taxa naturalized in Australia. Biological control of this Weed of National Significance, using the nonindigenous rust fungus Phragmidium violaceum, is effective when the weather is conducive to multiple cycles of infection, but some blackberry taxa escape severe disease. Thirty-one taxa of naturalized R. fruticosus agg. from southeastern Australia were isolated, their DNA phenotype determined and clones of each taxon inoculated with P. violaceum isolate SAl. Disease development was monitored for at least four generations of uredinia on large potted plants under field conditions. Although variation in mean disease severity appeared continuous over the range of Rubus clones tested, counts of uredinia and telia enabled identification of eight resistant taxa. Fine scale variation in susceptibility to rust disease was observed when different clones of R. leucostachys with the same DNA phenotype were found to express either resistance or susceptibility to P. violaceum (SA1). There were significant differences among 23 Rubus taxa rated as susceptible to rust disease in the mean number of leaves emerging per latent period of uredinia (LELPU). Mean LELPU appeared to account for some of the variation in two measures of mean disease severity observed among susceptible Rubus clones, although the correlation was insignificant (0-10 < P > 0-05).
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Agronomy and Crop Science
- Plant Science