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  • Author or Editor: Virginia O. Stockwell x
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Joseph J. Rothleutner, Ryan N. Contreras, Virginia O. Stockwell and James S. Owen

Cotoneaster Medik. is a genus of ornamental landscape plants commonly affected by fire blight. Fire blight is a disease caused by the bacterial pathogen, Erwinia amylovora (Burrill) Winslow et al., that attacks a wide range of taxa in the apple subfamily (Maloideae; Rosaceae). To assess susceptibility of species and identify potential sources of resistance, we inoculated 52 taxa of Cotoneaster with E. amylovora. Disease severity was scored by percent shoot necrosis (lesion length/total shoot length). Disease screenings were conducted over 2 years and varying levels of susceptibility were observed. Some taxa were highly susceptible to fire blight and the disease resulted in whole plant mortality (C. rhytidophyllus Rehder & E.H. Wilson, C. rugosus E. Pritzel ex Diels, and C. wardii W.W. Smith). Other taxa repeatedly exhibited moderate to high levels of disease resistance [C. arbusculus G. Klotz, C. chungtinensis (T.T. Yu) J. Fryer & B. Hylmö, C. delsianus E. Pritzel var. delsianus, C. sikangensis Flinck & B. Hylmö, C. simonsii Baker, and C. splendens Flinck & Hylmö]. Ongoing studies are being conducted to determine if taxa with high levels of resistance under artificial inoculation will exhibit high levels of resistance in the field under natural disease pressure. Identifying sources of disease resistance will be useful for breeding programs to increase tolerance of these landscape plants with desirable horticultural characteristics to fire blight.