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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Genetic Improvement of Cool Season Food Legumes

Location: Grain Legume Genetics Physiology Research

Title: First report of dodder (Cuscuta pentagona) on chickpea (Cicer arietinum) in the United States

Authors
item Chen, Weidong
item Dugan, Frank
item McGee, Rebecca

Submitted to: Plant Disease
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: July 9, 2013
Publication Date: January 1, 2014
Citation: Chen, W., Dugan, F.M., McGee, R.J. 2014. First report of dodder (Cuscuta pentagona) on chickpea (Cicer arietinum) in the United States [abstract]. Plant Disease. 98(1):165. DOI: dx.doi.org/10.1094/PDIS-03-13-0334-PDN.

Interpretive Summary: Chickpea is an important rotational and an emerging specialty crop in the Pacific Northwest of the United States, in California, and in the Northern Great Plains of the USA and Canada. Dodders are widespread parasitic weeds on many crops worldwide. Several Cuscuta species have been known to parasitize chickpea, and dodder is important on chickpea in the Indian subcontinent, the Middle East, and recently in Australia, but has previously not been reported from North America. On 28 July 2012, a chickpea field near Walla Walla, Washington, was found parasitized by dodder. Chickpea plants in the center of the dodder colonies were wilting or dead. The colonies consisted of orange-colored leafless twining stems wrapped around chickpea stems and spreading between chickpea plants. Haustoria of the dodder penetrating chickpea stems were clearly visible to the naked eye. The dodder was identified as Cuscuta pentagona based on morphology and ITS sequences. Dodder (C. approximata Bab.) has been historically a regional problem on alfalfa. Another species stated to be “mainly” associated with legumes is C. epithymum Murr., and C. pentagona is “especially” associated with legumes. The latter species has sometimes been considered a variety (var. calycina) of C. campestris Yuncker. Although chickpea has been cultivated in Washington state for over 20 years, to our knowledge this is the first time dodder has been observed on chickpea in North America. The likely source is from nearby alfalfa or other crop fields, with transmission by farm machinery or wild animals. Some chickpea germplasm exhibits partial resistance to C. campestris.

Technical Abstract: Chickpea (Cicer arietinum L.) is an important rotational and an emerging specialty crop in the Pacific Northwest of the United States, in California, and in the Northern Great Plains of the USA and Canada. Dodders (Cuscuta spp.) are widespread parasitic weeds on many crops worldwide. Several Cuscuta species (primarily C. campestris Yuncker) have been reported to parasitize chickpea, and dodder is important on chickpea in the Indian subcontinent, the Middle East, and recently in Australia, but has previously not been reported from North America. On 28 July 2012, a chickpea field near Walla Walla, Washington, was found parasitized by dodder. The chickpea was at late flowering and early pod filling stages and there were no other visible green weedy plants as observed from the canopy. There were about 15 dodder colonies varying in size from 2 to 15 meters in diameter in the field of about 500 acres. Chickpea plants in the center of the dodder colonies were wilting or dead. The colonies consisted of orange-colored leafless twining stems wrapped around chickpea stems and spreading between chickpea plants. Haustoria of the dodder penetrating chickpea stems were clearly visible to the naked eye. Flowers, formed abundantly in dense clusters, were white and five-angled, with capitate stigmas, and lobes on developing calyxes were clearly overlapping. The dodder keyed to Cuscuta pentagona Engelm. Specimens of dodder plants wrapping around chickpea stems with visible penetrating haustoria were collected on July 28, 2013 and vouchers (WS386115, WS386116 and WS386117) were deposited at the Washington State University Ownbey Herbarium. All dodder colonies in the field were eradicated before seed formation to prevent establishment of dodder. Total genomic DNA was isolated from dodder stems, and PCR primers ITS1 and ITS4 were used to amplify the internal transcribed spacer (ITS) region of the nuclear rDNA. The ITS region was sequenced. BLAST search of the NCBI nucleotide database using the ITS sequence as query found that the most similar sequence was from C. pentagona (GenBank Accession DQ211589.1), and our ITS sequence was deposited in GenBank (Accession KC832885). Dodder (C. approximata Bab.) has been historically a regional problem on alfalfa (Washington State Noxious Weed Control Board 2011). Another species stated to be “mainly” associated with legumes is C. epithymum Murr., and C. pentagona is “especially” associated with legumes. The latter species has sometimes been considered a variety (var. calycina) of C. campestris Yuncker. Although chickpea has been cultivated in the Walla Walla region for over 20 years, to our knowledge this is the first time dodder has been observed on chickpea in North America. The likely source is from nearby alfalfa or other crop fields, with transmission by farm machinery or wild animals. Some chickpea germplasm exhibits partial resistance to C. campestris.

Last Modified: 10/22/2014
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