The evergreen shrub, Kalmia latifolia L., commonly known as mountain laurel, calico bush, or sheep-kill, grows widely on rocky, acid soils in the eastern United States. Whether growing in its natural habit or in cultivation, mountain laurel appears to be equally subject to attack by fungi. The following account characterizes and discusses two of these fungi. One of them has not been described previously and additional observations have been made regarding the developmental morphology of the other one.
Both pathogens are Pyrenomycetes, one a Physalospora and the other a Diaporthe. Each produces a leafblight disease. Tiny brown discolorations on young leaves characterize the early stages of attack by both organisms. These small lesions gradually enlarge and become irregular brown spots that may encompass the major portion of the leaf surface. The invaded tissues are darkest near the margins of the lesions, but a reddish zone lies between the darker border and the surrounding green tissues. Severely attacked leaves are deformed and shed prematurely.
The reproductive structures of the Physalospora occur on the lower surface and begin to develop before the leaves are shed. The pycnidial stromata of the Diaporthe elevate the epidermis and caticle, and consequently produce grayish spots on the leaf surface. Both fungi continue to develop after the leaves have fallen, and since the mycelia extend beyond the margins of the lesions, perithecia ultimately may occupy most of the leaf surface. [excerpt]
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Wolf, F.A. and A.R. Cavaliere. Two New Species of Leafblight Fungi on Kalmia Latifolia. Mycologia (July-August 1965) 57(4):576-582.
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