Prevalence and distribution of common barberry, the alternate host of Puccinia graminis, in Minnesota

P. D. Peterson, K. J. Leonard, J. D. Miller, R. J. Laudon, T. B. Sutton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


A federal and state program operated from 1918 until the 1980s to eradicate common barberry (Berberis vulgaris), the alternate host of Puccinia graminis, from the major areas of cereal production in the United States. Over 500 million bushes were destroyed nationally during the program, approximately 1 million in Minnesota. Some sites in Minnesota where barberry bushes were destroyed remained in the "active" class when eradication was phased out in the 1980s. Active sites were defined as those on which there was still a possibility of emergence of barberry seedlings or sprouts arising from the parent bush. In the present study, from 1998 to 2002, 72 of the approximately 1,200 active sites in Minnesota were surveyed. Areas within 90 m of mapped locations of previously destroyed bushes were searched carefully at each site. Reemerged barberry plants were found on 32 sites. The reproductive status and GPS coordinates were recorded for each reemerged bush. More than 90% of the barberry bushes were found in counties with less than 400 ha of wheat per county, mostly in southeastern Minnesota, but one bush was found in a major wheat-producing county in northwestern Minnesota. Reemergence of barberry may serve as a source of new wheat stem rust races in future epidemics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)159-163
Number of pages5
JournalPlant disease
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2005

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