Cultivation and Diseases of Proteaceae: Leucadendron, Leucospermum and Protea
Proteaceae represent a prominent family of flowering plants in the Southern Hemisphere. Because of their beauty, unique appearance, and relatively long shelf life, Proteaceae cut-flowers have become a highly desirable crop for the export market. The cultivation of Proteaceae is a thriving industry that provides employment in countries where these flowers are grown, often in areas that are otherwise unproductive agriculturally. Diseases cause a loss in yield, and also limit the export of these flowers due to strict phytosanitary regulations. In this publication the fungi that cause leaf, stem and root diseases on Leucadendron, Leucospermum and Protea are treated. Data are provided pertaining to the taxonomy, identification, host range, distribution, pathogenicity, molecular characteristics and control of these pathogens. Taxonomic descriptions and illustrations are provided and keys are included to distinguish species in genera where a number of species affect Proteaceae. Disease symptoms are described and colour photographs are included. Where known, factors that affect disease epidemiology are discussed. Disease management strategies are also presented that will assist growers and advisors in making appropriate choices for reducing disease in specific areas. Information is also provided relating to crop improvement, cultivation techniques, harvesting and export considerations. Further development and expansion of this industry depends on producing and obtaining disease-free germplasm from countries where these plants are indigenous. For that reason it is important to document the fungi that occur on Proteaceae, and to establish the distribution of these fungi. These data are essential for plant quarantine services for use in risk assessments.
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