Over the next few months I will be bringing you up to speed with the, increasingly specific, workings of powdery mildews (PMs) (Erysiphales) present on the University of Reading, Whiteknights, campus during the past year. Records and sitings on campus come predominantly from my own fieldwork, though I have also been aided by the very select group of plant pathologists at the university.
This series of blogs will culminate in a progressive, interactive species list of the fungus, which will act as an aid for the upcoming citizen science project to map the diversity and distribution of PM species in the UK throughout 2014. The TLDF, Whiteknights Biodiversity App, may also play an important role in data collection.
The PM season of 2013 spanned from the Podosphaera leucotricha, found on apple trees (Malus domestica) in the Harris Garden in early May, to the Sawadaea bicornis, found on Sycamores (Acer pseudoplatanus) in the Wilderness Area in early November. Such a period is typical of this fungus as it requires living plant material and, on the whole, a moist temperate climate without extreme temperatures. Subject to a drastically altered climate in the UK, a similar pattern is expected in the coming years.
So tune in over the coming months to learn more about this troublesome order of Fungi…