First report of Puccinia bornmuelleri on Levisticum officinale (lovage) in Austria



Levisticum officinale (lovage) is cultivated as a spice or herb in Austria in fields, nurseries and garden plots. Usually only leaf spot diseases, e.g. Ramularia spp., are known to occur on L. officinale, but in September, 2007 specimens of L. officinale with rust pustules on leaves and leaf stalks were found in a garden plot in Vienna. The rust was identified by symptoms and microscopy as Puccinia bornmuelleri. This fungus was first detected by Bornmüller on leaves and stems of L. persicum (=L. officinale) in 1892 in Iran between Kerman and Bender-Abbas on the Kuh-i-Häsar mountain at an elevation of 3400–3500 m and described by Magnus as P. bornmuelleri in 1899 (Magnus, 1899). Petrak (1966) reported this fungus on L. persicum from Afghanistan. Since then P. bornmuelleri has been reported from L. officinale only in the Czech Republic in 2006 (Müller & Šafrankova, 2007) and in Romania from 2000 onwards (Tănase et al., 2007). Magnus (1899) described the urediniospores as 28–38 × 18–26 μm in diameter and the teliospores as 32–54 × 19–32 μm. (The type specimen has been examined: Herbarium J. Bornmüller [Flora Persiae austr.] in Herb.Mus.Hist. Natur.Vindob. [W], No. 18846.)

The Austrian sample contained both urediniospores and teliospores in their respective pustules. Urediniospores had mean dimensions of 40 × 27 μm with evenly spread small spines all over the surface, and the teliospores measured (30)32–47(50) × (16)20–28(30) μm and had a fine granulate surface. Infected plants are worthless for culinary use, and therefore infection of this rust on L. officinale can cause great damage.