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Keywords:

  • native vegetation;
  • phytophthora dieback;
  • survival;
  • susceptibility;
  • threatened species

Thirty-seven South Australian native plant species from 11 families, including 15 threatened species in the state (of which six are listed as threatened under the federal Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999) were assessed for response to infection by Phytophthora cinnamomi. Seedlings, 3–6 months old and grown in a greenhouse, were inoculated by placing infested pine wood plugs in the potting mix, maintained in moist conditions and assessed for mortality and disease symptoms for between 3 and 10 months. Thirty species were found to be susceptible, of which nine were highly susceptible, 15 moderately susceptible and six slightly susceptible. Three species were found to be resistant and results for four species were inconclusive. Six of the 15 threatened, rare or locally endangered species tested (Eucalyptus viminalis var. viminalis, Correa aemula, C. calycina, Olearia pannosa ssp. pannosa, Pomaderris halmaturina ssp. halmaturina and Prostanthera eurybioides) were moderately susceptible, while two (Allocasuarina robusta and Pultenaea graveolens) were highly susceptible. Significant populations of at least five of the threatened species susceptible to the disease are located close to confirmed or suspected Phytophthora-infested areas or growing in areas conducive for P. cinnamomi. An effective management strategy is therefore required to avoid extinction of such species due to infection by the phytophthora dieback pathogen.