White pine blister rust disease, caused by the introduced pathogen Cronartium ribicola, has severely disrupted five-needled pine ecosystems in North America. A 100-year effort to manage this disease was predicated in part on the premise that the pathogen utilizes only species of Ribes (Grossulariaceae) as alternate hosts on this continent. The current study presents the first conclusive demonstration that some species in the family Orobanchaceae (Pedicularis racemosa and Castilleja miniata) are functioning as alternate hosts in a natural ecosystem of North America. This finding has implications for improving our understanding of epidemiology, pathogen adaptation and host-pathogen interactions within white pine blister rust.
McDonald, Geral I.; Richardson, Bryce A.; Zambino, Paul J.; Klopfenstein, Ned B.; Kim, Mee-Sook. 2006. Pedicularis and Castilleja are natural hosts of Cronartium ribicola in North America: A first report. Forest Pathology. 36(2): 73-82.