University of California

Pansy leafspot, caused by Centrospora acerina, host range, and control


C. M. Tompkins
H. N. Hansen

Authors Affiliations

C. M. Tompkins was Associate Plant Pathologist in the Experiment Station; H. N. Hansen was Professor of Plant Pathology and Plant Pathologist in the Experiment Station.

Publication Information

Hilgardia 19(12):383-398. DOI:10.3733/hilg.v19n12p383. February 1950.

PDF of full article, Cite this article


A serious leafspot disease of pansies and violas has been prevalent in the San Francisco Bay region since 1928. The disease develops only during the cold, wet, winter months. The causal organism has been identified as Centrospora acerina (Hartig) Newhall.

On pansy and viola leaves, small, blue-black, spherical to elliptical lesions, which may have a wet, greasy appearance on the lower side of the leaf, are found between, adjacent to, and on the veins and veinlets. Lesions also occur on petioles and inflorescences. Within a day or two after initial infection, the centers of the lesions may become necrotic, exhibiting a light to dark brown color, surrounded by a blue-black ring. Infected plants die promptly.

In the greenhouse, infection of pansies and violas was obtained by placing drops of a spore suspension from a pansy isolate on the upper surface of the leaves, atomizing with sterile distilled water, and covering the inoculated plants with glass jars. The incubation period ranged from 24 to 48 hours. Infected plants died within a week. The fungus was reisolated in pure culture, and the reisolates proved pathogenic.

In addition to pansy and viola, other ornamental bedding plants and vegetables were both naturally and artificially infected. Susceptible and nonsusceptible plants are listed.

The disease on pansy, viola, other susceptible ornamental bedding plants, French endive, narrow-leaf dandelion, and lettuce may be controlled by frequent spraying of the leaves during the rainy season with a copper oleate solution. Bedding plants listed as nonsusceptible may be grown in nurseries and outdoor plantings and require no spraying.

Literature Cited

Anonymous. Plantesygdomme i Danmark 1928. Oversigt, samlet ved Statens plantepatologiske Forsøg. Tidsskr. Planteavl. 1929. 35:420-471.

Hansen H. N., Tompkins C. M. The name of Ansatospora macrospora. Phytopathology. 1945. 35:218-220.

Hartig Robert. Der Ahornkeimlingspilz Cercospora acerina M. Untersuch. Forstbot. Inst. München. 1880. 1:58-62.

Neergaard Paul. Mykologische Notizen II. Zentbl. f. Bakt., Parasit., u. Infekt. (II). 1942. 104:407-412.

Newhall A. G. An undescribed storage rot of celery. (Abstract). Phytopathology. 1941. 31:17

Newhall A. G. A serious storage rot of celery caused by the fungus Ansatospora macrospora n. gen. Phytopathology. 1944. 34:92-105.

Newhall A. G. More on the name Ansatospora acerina. Phytopathology. 1946. 36:893-896.

Osterwalder A. Ueber die durch Cercospora macrospora Osterw. verursachte Blattkrankheit bei den Pensées. Mitt. Thurgauische Naturf. Gesells. 1924a. 25:59-80.

Osterwalder A. Bericht der schweizerischen Versuchsanstalt für Obst-, Wein- und Gartenbau im Wädenswil für die Jahre 1921-1923. IV. A. 6. Ueber die durch Cercospora macrospora verursachte Blattkrankheit an Pensées. Landw. Jahrb. der Schweiz. 1924b. 38:616-617.

Rader Wm. E. Ansatospora acerina found causing decay of stored carrots in Wayne County, New York. Plant Disease Reporter. 1945. 29:522

Snyder William C., Hansen H. N. Advantages of natural media and environments in the culture of fungi. Phytopathology. 1947. 37:420-421.

Sprague Roderick. New or noteworthy parasitic species of fungi imperfecti in Oregon. Mycologia. 1937. 29:426-433. DOI: 10.2307/3754329 [CrossRef]

Truscott J. H. L. A storage rot of celery caused by Ansatospora macrospora (Osterw). Newhall. Canadian Journal Research (C). 1944. 22:290-304.

Westerdijk Johanna, Van Luijk A. Eine Anthraknose des Kümmels (Carum carvi). Meded. Phytopath. Lab. ‘Willie Commelin Scholten,’ Baarn. 1924. 8:51-54.

Tompkins C, Hansen H. 1950. Pansy leafspot, caused by Centrospora acerina, host range, and control. Hilgardia 19(12):383-398. DOI:10.3733/hilg.v19n12p383
Webmaster Email: wsuckow@ucanr.edu