Reply To: Names of diseases caused by Heterobasidion spp.

Forest Pathology Fora Root Diseases Annosus Root Disease Names of diseases caused by Heterobasidion spp. Reply To: Names of diseases caused by Heterobasidion spp.


Maybe I’m living on the wrong side of the plains to offer an opinion, but I think the best common name for now is Heterobasidion Root Disease, HRD. I’ve been advocating for that for several years now, because I thought that was the right answer. I expect the species associated with the various hosts and locations will continue to change… names may change, perhaps species will be added. It will continue to be confusing. But bumping the name up to the genus level gives some level of stability. I am hoping the genus name does not change again any time soon. On the landscape, without a conk or a PCR or some other conclusive evidence, it is difficult to distinguish the variants of disease caused by Heterobasidion, the main distinction being host. Symptoms often vary by region or subregion… HRD in an unmanaged shortleaf pine plantation in southern Illinois doesn’t necessarily have the same “expanding pocket” pattern that HRD in a untimely-thinned red pine plantation in Michigan has. So a symptom-based common name is also confusing. And with H. irregulare being present in both east and west, I don’t think it is going to be any less confusing. So for me, the easiest solution is to just use the broader term HRD to include root disease caused by any Heterobasidion on conifers, and then refine which one it might be by naming the host. I think we’ve almost gotten our northeastern population of pathologists and silviculturists to use HRD most of the time, though we know what people are talking about when they use fomes/annosum/annosus root rot/disease. We just got the new eastern FIDL (Heterobasidion Root Disease in Eastern Conifers) completed with the name HRD. I know it’s not perfect, but I’m of the opinion it is better than many of the other options. I’d hate to see it changed now.