Psychotria nervosa, commonly called “wild coffee” (Rubiaceae), is an important ethno-medicinal plant in India. In 2010, a new rust disease of P. nervosa was observed in three regions of Mysore District, Karnataka (India), with disease incidence ranging from 58 to 63%.Typical symptoms of the rust disease on wild coffee were prominently visible during the early monsoon season (May to June), with chlorotic spots on the adaxial and black pustules (telia) on the abaxial leaf surface. Telia produced abundant teliospores, which were bicelled, pedicillate, and measured 33 to 45 by 19 to 30 mm. The germination of teliospores produced a typical metabasidium bearing four basidiospores, each containing two haploid nuclei. Spore stages of the wild coffee rust pathogen were studied using artificially inoculated healthy wild coffee plants with germinated teliospores. Only telia were observed on the inoculated plants, indicating that this rust fungus has an abbreviated microcyclic life cycle that includes only teliospores and basidiospores. Phylogenetic analysis based on internal transcribed spacer and partial large subunit (LSU) sequence data showed that the wild coffee rust pathogen is related to Macruropyxis fraxini, Puccinia bartholomaei, P. choridis, and P. sparganioidis. The herbarium sample of P. psychotriae was examined and was shown to be different with respect to telium size and teliospore dimensions (24 to 32 by 13 to 18 mm). Therefore, the rust pathogen causing wild coffee rust is a new species, P. mysuruensis sp. nov.
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© 2016 The American Phytopathological Society.