This morning I was lucky enough to find a sealed envelope waiting for me on my desk. I had an idea and hope of what it may contain, and was far from disappointed…
In mid-May of this year the Powdery Mildew Survey was launched: a project run jointly between the University of Reading and the RHS to help to form a more complete picture of powdery mildew presence in the UK and to develop cutting-edge, molecular identification techniques.
Within the envelope were samples of powdery mildew infected plant material all the way from Dollar, a small town near Stirling in Scotland.
The samples found on Knapweed (Centaurea montana), Comfrey (Symphytum sp.), Fringe cup (Tellima grandiflora), and Forget-me-not (Myosotis sp.) will I suspect yield species of powdery mildew which I have not yet been able to analyse, and if not will increase my sampling size and range. Either way, they will be a valuable addition to the study.
The white-talcam powder like coating found on the plants leaves, shoots, buds and fruits may look uninspiring and inconsequential, but has huge economic effects due to losses of important crops. So keep your eyes open this summer, and if you feel like doing your bit, please do send me your samples.
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