Characterization of the response of ornamental graminoids to attempted infection by Sclerotinia sclerotiorum

Michelle A. Grabowski, Dean K. Malvick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Sclerotinia sclerotiorum causes Sclerotinia stem rot (SSR) (also called white mold), resulting in stem rot and death of many common herbaceous ornamental plant species. Resistant plants would be useful to manage SSR; however, the host range of S. sclerotiorum is unclear. The goal of this study was to determine how the ornamental graminoids Pennisetum glaucum, Setaria italica, Juncus inflexus, Carex flagellifera, Isolepis cernua, and Acorus gramineus respond to inoculation with S. sclerotiorum. Plants were inoculated in the field and in controlled environments at 13, 16, 19, or 22°C with or without wounding, and evaluated for SSR. Inoculated detached leaves were stained to examine infection and oxalate oxidase production. A. gramineus developed SSR in field and controlled environments. Sclerotinia stem rot was not observed on P. glaucum in field environments. The disease developed on P. glaucum and S. italica in controlled environments, and severity increased with decreasing temperature and wounding. J. inflexus, C. flagellifera, and I. cernua developed no or minor symptoms of SSR in field and controlled environments. Mycelia penetrated A. gramineus leaves 24 h after inoculation (HAI) and P. glaucum at 48 HAI, but did not penetrate J. inflexus at 24, 48, or 96 HAI. Oxalate oxidase was not detected in inoculated leaves of these ornamental graminoids. The results illuminate S. sclerotiorum’s interactions with monocots and broaden the understanding of SSR resistance in ornamental grasses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)411-416
Number of pages6
JournalPlant disease
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding: This project was funded by the Minnesota Turf and Grounds Foundation.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 The American Phytopathological Society.


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