Scouting for diseases: Anthracnose

Editor’s note: This article is from the archives of the MSU Crop Advisory Team Alerts. Check the label of any pesticide referenced to ensure your use is included.    

Pathogen: Colletotrichum spp. (view images)

Hosts include:
Althaea, Bergenia, Heuchera, Hosta, Limonium, Sedum and Lupinus.

Symptoms vary, depending on the host. Althaea seedlings and young plants are especiallysusceptible to infection: leaf
spotting and stem lesions can be severe. Lupine seedlings are especially vulnerable: infected plants wilt and have necrotic lesions on stems. Leaf spots, shepherd’s crooks and crown rot develop on more mature lupine plants (see photo). Anthracnose causes severe stem girdling and crown rot on sedum. Susceptibility varies with cultivar. Infection on hosta causes leaf spots with bleached out centers and reproductive structures (black dots) are often visible in these lesions.

Disease can be seed-borne in some perennial crops. The pathogen persists on infested material. Spores are splash-dispersed by rain and irrigation.

Space plants to promote air circulation around them. Remove diseased plant material – Colletotrichum. spp. will sporulate readily on dead plant material in the production area. Fungicide applications may be needed. Lupine seedlingscan be infected by seed- borne inoculum. Disease management must rely heavily on the use of disease-free seed and fungicide applications to seedlings.

Information is from the new field guide A Pocket Guide for IPM Scouting in Herbaceous Perennials. Ordering information, call 517-353-6740 or visit:

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