White smut

July 8, 2015

Rusts and smuts


Entyloma polysporum.


Aster, Echinacea, Gaillardia, Helianthus and Rudbeckia.


Round, white spots, up to 1 centimeter in diameter. Young lesions may create very faint spots. Over time, the spots turn brown and become necrotic.

White smut gaillardia foliage
Whitish, round lesions on Gaillardia foliage.


Spores are formed inside the leaf tissue. As lesions mature, the leaf surface ruptures, releasing the spores.

White smut lesions
Older lesions caused by white smut on Gaillardia have coalesced and are causing necrosis.

Spores are wind-dispersed. A white, powdery material may be visible on the leaf surface. Spores of this fungus are not known to survive winters in the northern United States.


Remove all symptomatic plants. Plants in greenhouses may need fungicide applications for good disease control. The disease is favored by cool, humid conditions; disease spread will be slow under warm, dry conditions.


Of the hosts listed, Gaillardia is most susceptible. The disease has been documented on the cultivars ‘Goblin’, ‘Baby Cole’ and ‘Fanfare.’ This disease has been seen with increasing frequency in the past few years.

White smut gaillardia planting
Dieback caused by a severe white smut infestation on a landscape planting of Gaillardia.

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