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Pathogenicity and virulence of Armillaria sinapina and host response to infection in Douglas-fir, western hemlock and western redcedar in the southern Interior of British Columbia




The frequency of infection, lesion characteristics and anatomical changes in phloem and cambial tissues caused by Armillaria sinapina were studied on inoculated trees of Douglas-fir, western hemlock and western redcedar and compared with results of A. ostoyae inoculations previously reported on the same host species. Similar percentages of inoculations resulting in infection of roots on the three hosts indicate that A. sinapina and A. ostoyae are equally pathogenic. Armillaria ostoyae was more virulent than A. sinapina as demonstrated by fungal exudates from A. ostoyae inoculum blocks, which appeared to cause lesions on roots; the higher frequency at which lignified impervious tissue (IT) and necrophylactic periderm (NP) developed in bark and following cambial invasion, compartmentalization; the large proportion of roots that showed no visible host response; the large zones of IT formed under continuous stimulation by A. ostoyae advancing in inner bark; and the high frequency of breaching of NP barriers. Spread of A. sinapina mycelium in host species appeared slower than that of A. ostoyae, particularly in Douglas-fir and western hemlock. In western redcedar, A. ostoyae induced stronger host responses than those following invasion by A. sinapina, which included further expansion of the induced rhytidome response, traumatic phloem resin duct formation and higher numbers of polyphenolic parenchyma comprising its barrier zone. Where damage by A. sinapina ensued, it was always associated with high inoculum potential. The ecology of virulent and less virulent species of Armillaria in natural forests is discussed.