In the late 1990s, commercial garlic fields in California (CA) were devastated by an outbreak of rust caused by Puccinia allii. We compared collections of the pathogen from garlic (Allium sativum) and chives (A. schoenoprasum) in central CA and Oregon (OR) to collections from garlic and leek (A. porrum and A. ampeloprasum) in the Middle East. Teliospores from the CA and OR collections were smaller in length, width, and projected cross-sectional area compared with collections from the Middle East. CA and OR collections had a shortened life cycle, in which pycnia and aecia were not formed. Germinating teliospores produced a two-celled promycelium, resulting in two basidiospores, each initially with two nuclei, indicating that this rust was homothallic. In addition, the morphology of the substomatal vesicles was different between the CA-OR (fusiform) and the Middle Eastern (bulbous) collections. DNA sequence analysis of the nuclear ribosomal internal transcribed spacer region showed that the CA and OR rust collections formed a well-supported cluster distinct from the Middle Eastern and European samples. These results suggest that the rust on garlic and chives in CA and OR is a different species than the rust fungus on garlic and leek in the Middle East.
- Infection structure