Submitted to: Symposium Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: May 30, 1997
Publication Date: N/A
Interpretive Summary: A very rare species of strawberry that has been reported only in Quebec, Canada has tiny leaves and multiple crowns with the many plantlets growing crowded together. This report documents that Fragaria multicipita is not a true species, but is actually a diseased form of the common virginian strawberry, Fragaria virginiana.
Technical Abstract: Fragaria multicipita Fernald is one of four strawberry species reported to occur in N. America. This rare species was first described by M.L. Fernald in 1908 from several isolated sites along a river in Quebec, Canada, & is distinguished from F. virginiana Duchesne by having multiple crowns, relatively small leaves with sessile leaflets, & no runners. The species was thought to be extinct until it was rediscovered by Catling in 1992 in its original locality. Specimens were collected and deposited as living plants at the National Clonal Germplasm Repository in Corvallis, Oregon. When leaves from F. multicipita were grafted onto F. chiloensis (L.) Duchesne plants symptoms similar to strawberry multiplier disease gradually developed. After 90 days, inoculated F. chiloensis plants were stunted, having smaller leaves, shorter runners, & increasing numbers of crowns as compared to uninoculated plants. These results indicated that the multicipital habit is the result of infection by a graft-transmissible pathogen. Molecular data presented in a companion abstract in this symposium indicate this pathogen to be a phytoplasma (R. Jomantiene et al. 1997). The crown of a multicipital plant was divided into 20 sub-clones to examine the effects antibiotic treatments or heat therapy. Several of these plants produced large leaves and runners typical of healthy F. virginiana. Reversion of sub-clones to a form and habit typical of F. virginiana further demonstrates that F. multicipita is a pathogen induced taxon & an invalid strawberry species.