Milkwort (Polygala myrtifolia L.) is an ornamental shrub of commercial importance in temperate climatic zones. For this vegetal species very few diseases have been reported, except for two diseases caused by Cylindrocladium pauciramosum in Europe (mainly in Italy and Spain) and Cucumber mosaic virus (CMV) in Italy. A severe decline of milkwort plants was for the first time observed in nurseries of Southern Italy (Termoli and Campomarino, Molise). Affected plants appeared from partially to completely wilted, stunted and weakly chlorotic. In symptomatic plants Fusarium sp. colonies were consistently isolated from crown, basal stem, and root lesions. According to their morphological characters and genomic differentiation by Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) of ribosomal DNA, the most frequent and representative fungal isolates were identified as Fusarium oxysporum and F. solani. The etiology of this milkwort disease was proved by fulfilling Koch’s postulates on artificially inoculated milkwort healthy plants. This is the first record of milkwort wilt caused by pathogenic Fusarium species.
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