The Phytophthora genus contains soil-borne plant pathogens similar to fungi, infecting mainly trees and woody plants. It usually spreads through plant roots and leads to weakness and collapse of the plant.
Symptoms of Phytophthora diseases are not restricted to root rots because some species attack only aboveground parts of the plant. Large necrotic leaf or stem blotches characterize late blight of potato and tomato. Under the leaf, along the leading edge of the necrotic tissue, a downy, white growth may develop. Defoliation and a dieback starting at branch tips characterize holly tip blight. Rhododendrons develop a leaf spot and blight in winter caused by P. syringae. Crabapple or flowering pear nursery stock can develop a black, sunken canker several inches above the soil due to the same organism.
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