Cornus species (dogwoods) are popular ornamental trees and important understory plants in natural forests of northern hemisphere. Dogwood anthracnose, one of the major diseases affecting the native North American Cornus species, such as C. Florida, is caused by the fungal pathogen Discula destructiva. The origin of this fungus is not known, but it is hypothesized that it was imported to North America with its host plants from Asia. In this study, a TaqMan real-time PCR assay was used to detect D. destructiva in dried herbarium and fresh Cornus samples. Several herbarium specimens from Japan and China were detected positive for D. destructiva, some of which were collected before the first report of the dogwood anthracnose in North America. Our findings further support that D. destructiva was introduced to North America from Asia where the fungus likely does not cause severe disease.
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