Systematics Success Stories
Dogwood anthracnose is a disease that affects mature dogwood trees throughout the United States. This disease appeared suddenly on both the east and west coasts of the United States in the late 1980's and spread rapidly throughout the country. A fungus that was previously unknown to science causes dogwood anthracnose. Scientists at the USDA-ARS Systematic Botany and Mycology Laboratory described this fungus as the new species, Discula destructiva. The accurate description and characterization of this fungus have allowed plant pathologists to breed dogwood trees that are resistant to anthracnose.