Nothophaeocryptopus gaeumannii

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Nothophaeocryptopus gaeumannii (syn. Phaeocryptopus gaeumannii) fruiting bodies (pseudothecia) on Pseudotsuga needle (click on image to enlarge it)
Author(s): Bruce Watt, University of Maine
Source: IPM Images

Nothophaeocryptopus gaeumannii (T. Rohde) Videira, C. Nakash., U. Braun & Crous 2017 - (Swiss needle cast)

This fungus infects Douglas fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii), especially younger trees. It is often common in Douglas fir trees without causing clear symptoms. However, under certain conditions heavy infections develop that result in the disease Swiss needle cast, including serious outbreaks. For example a large epidemic developed in Oregon (north-western North America) around 1990, affecting trees in an areas of more than 150,000 ha. Outbreaks in young Douglas fir plantations are common.

The disease is native to north-western North America and apparently has spread to Europe and some other regions. It was first described from Switzerland in the 1920s. The symptoms include yellowing and premature shedding of the needles, resulting in reduced tree growth (up to 50%) and tree death in severe cases.

Vernacular names
• Deutsch: Russige Douglasienschütte
• English: Swiss needle cast
• Français: rouille Suisse du Douglas
rouge de Gauemann

Sexual fruiting bodies (pseudothecia) develop on infected needles as small black pustules (0.1 mm wide), typically aligned in rows. These discharge ascospores in spring or early summer and disperse by wind or rain splashes, causing new infections. No asexual form has been observed (Videira et al., 2017).

Synonyms:
Phaeocryptopus gaeumannii