Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Vunerable—Yes, even a Multiflora Rose is vunerable

I found a Multiflora Rose while on my walk last weekend that looked strange yet beautiful. I knew it was a rose because of the shape of the leaves and the thorns and figured it was probably a multiflora because they are prolific in the forest of West Virginia. So I took this photo with the thought of learning more.

It looks like I altered the photo doesn’t it? But I didn’t.
The colors and the bunched up leaves were as I found them.

Once home I began searching through my books and internet and found an article by James W. Amrine, Jr. associate professor of entomology and Dale F. Hindal, professor of plant pathology, in the Division of Plant and Soil Sciences, College of Agriculture and Forestry, West Virginia University. It turns out that even the fast spreading, can’t kill it, can’t pull it up, invasive Multiflora Rose is vulnerable after all. A teeny tiny mite is responsible for bringing down this Goliath.

CHORUS: How small it is?

The mite is so small it only has room for two pairs of  legs on it’s tiny body instead of the usual four pairs.

CHORUS: (Repeat phrase)

It is so small that 20 mites can fit on a regular pin head.

But the mite just spreads the weapon, a virus called Rose Rosette Disease (RRD) also known as witches’ broom of rose, a condition fatal to the multiflora. The eriophyid mite, Phyllocoptes fructiphilus feeds on the rose thereby inoculating the plant with the RRD disease. Next a bright red to dark red pattern develops on the leaves. Thirty to 90 days later the infected rose produces lateral shoots that are bright red as seen in my photo. A large number of the shoots form the symptom known as witches brooming. These leaf clusters can act as a winter protection for the mites. The RRD spreads from the canes into the roots and then to the entire plant. The plant dies after one or two years. That’s the good news. The bad news it that it can sometimes attack cultivated roses in your yard.

So you see even a tough plant like the Multiflora Rose can be vulnerable.

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Ellen Rathbone said...

Well - who knew? This makes us hopeful that more such controls for invasives will be discovered. Thanks for sharing - it's always good to learn something new!

squirrel said...

Ellen, I'm not sure it is a good control in the long run because of the danger to cultivars but up on the top of the mountain where I was it was a good thing.

I often think if we wait just a little bit then nature will take care of it's self but the human race is not noted for it's patience.

I love "who knew" moments.

Sylvia K said...

Great post, Squirrel! Have to agree with Ellen, always good to learn something new and I just did! Thanks for the info!

Have a great day!


RuneE said...

As we have learned for the swine-flu (and worse diseases - we are all Vulnerable. A fine V.

Mara said...

Very interesting! The roseleaves do look lovely though, so it would be a shame if it were destroyed.

Amy said...

So interesting to find out about such a teeny, tiny creature! I agree with your comment, "I often think if we wait just a little bit then nature will take care of it's self but the human race is not noted for it's patience."

Having spent many years in the nursery business with roses as our specialty, it's not surprising that that multiflora rose would be vulnerable. Even though roses are perceived to be beautiful, they can be a big pain!

Leslie: said...

GORGEOUS colours on the leaves! Lucky you to have spotted it. :D

Tumblewords: said...

So much fun to learn! Gorgeous photo and interesting facts. Amazing read.

Q said...

I think the tiniest can be the deadliest...Bacteria has been known to kill millions.
In the long run seems as if we all are vunerable.

Rose said...

I've never heard of this particular disease, but I'm not surprised. There are all kinds of tiny pests that can wreak havoc on a garden. And here in the Midwest the Emerald Ash Borer, though much, much larger than these mites, is bringing down thousands of full-grown trees.

Fascinating info, as always!

Roger Owen Green said...

Good use of your curiosity; love the Greek chorus.

photowannabe said...

Informative post. I love learning so many different things from our blogging.
I find the tiny mite fascinating, and the multiflora Rose lovely.

Manang Kim said...

Now I learn something new...and the picture is awesome too. Thanks for sharing!


Joy said...

Small but deadly, result a pretty photo.
One of the things I like about digital photography is what a great learning aid it is. If I sketch or try to remember there is always something integral for identification I've forgotten.

jay said...

I'm not sure if we have the Witches Broom virus here, but I have heard of it. I hope my Beautiful James doesn't get it!