Phytophthora-caused Diseases and California’s Native Flora

Phytophthora-caused Diseases and California’s Native Flora

September 25, 2019
7:30 pm

Speaker: Michael Uhler
Location: Garden Room, Orinda Public Library

Lesions caused by Phytophthora cinnamomi on a pear used to detect the pathogen in the soil/root mix of a dead manzanita.

Four years of sampling California native plants for the presence of pathogens in the genus Phytophthora has given Michael Uhler a new appreciation for the seriousness of these damaging organisms. Once classified as belonging to the kingdom fungi, these microorganisms are more closely related to the brown algae than to true fungi. More than 120 Phytophthora species have been described to date, and virtually all are plant pathogens. “Phytophthora” literally translates to “plant destroyer,” and one species, Phytophthora ramorum, is the causal agent of the disease known as Sudden Oak Death. Most others cause deadly crown and root rot in susceptible hosts. Join Michael to learn about more than 12 species of Phytophthora associated with native plant diseases and fatalities, and then learn what can be done to prevent these insidious organisms from entering your garden or the wildlands as unwanted guests.

For the past fourteen years, Michael Uhler has been the gardener in the Regional Parks Botanic Garden’s Sierra Nevada and Sea Bluff sections. He is responsible for stewarding the largest collection of wild-collected Sierra Nevada plant species to be found anywhere. He has also been intimately involved in the garden’s recent pathogen detections, primarily of the genus Phytophthora. In his spare time he visits the wildest parts of our state and beyond.

East Bay CNPS members meetings are free of charge and open to everyone. This month’s meeting takes place in the Garden Room of the Orinda Public Library at 26 Orinda Way, Orinda 94563, a few blocks from the Orinda BART station. The Garden Room is on the second floor of the building, accessible by stairs or an elevator. Email if you have questions.