Downy mildew of cucurbits is a plant disease caused by the pathogen Pseudoperonospora cubensis. Typical symptoms include small yellow spots or water-soaked lesions on top of the leaves, which can later turn brown in the center.
The pathogen causes angular chlorotic lesions on the foliage. These lesions appear angular because they are bound by leaf veins. During humid conditions, inspection of the underside of the leaf reveals gray-brown to purplish-black fungal growth. This downy material is the sporulation of the pathogen. Magnification of the sporulation reveals the acutely and dichotomously branched sporangiophores bearing lemon-shaped sporangia. Eventually, leaves will turn necrotic and curl upwards. The disease is sometimes called wildfire because of how rapidly it progresses, as if the crop were burned by fire. Symptoms on watermelon and cantaloupe are different from on other cucurbits; leaf spots are typically not angular and turn brown to black in color. Often, an exaggerated upward leaf-curling will occur. Regardless of which cucurbit is involved, only the leaves are infected, not fruit, flowers, stems or roots. Disease of the leaves results in three major effects: 1. reduced yields, 2. a greater proportion of misshapen fruit, especially in cucumber, and 3. sunscalded fruit, due to increased exposure to direct sunlight, especially in watermelon and winter squash.
Become a member of the PlantIn community Sign Up for Free
to continue reading
Already a member? Sign In