On Sunday 8th May 2022, members of the British Society for Plant Pathology will be joining wildflowerhour on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook to explore the world of #wildplantdisease…
With nearly 33,000 followers @wildflower_hour posts challenges for wildflower enthusiasts every week, throughout the UK wildflower season, and has been trending since 2016 with the help of @BSBIbotany – the Botanical Society of Britain & Ireland.
Thousands of wildflower images are posted throughout the week, culminating in an hour from 8pm BST every Sunday, sharing and highlighting interesting new personal discoveries and rare wildflower finds.
On May 3rd 2022, @wildflower_hour launched a #wildplantdisease themed #wildflowerhour, exploring the world of plant disease on plants growing wild in the UK. To mark #planthealthweek, #wildflowerhour followers are challenged to discover symptoms of plant disease on trees and wild plants.
For this #wildplantdisease challenge, we have a new spotter sheet, created by Nichola Hawkins, with examples of plants, diseases and insect damage you are likely to find in May, in the UK. Download the sheet here or a printable black-and-white copy here.
Most plant pathology research focusses on high income crops e.g. Cereals, fruits, vegetables and forestry, often grown under high intensity monoculture to sustain high yields. In contrast, diseases occurring on wild plants are little-studied beyond surveillance of diseases occurring in the non-cultivated environment.
Plant diseases on ‘wild’ plants often reflect the biodiversity of wild species where e.g. rusts may overwinter on plants in verges and field margins with little noticeable symptoms before spreading at devastating rates across crops. Equally, the biodiversity in wild or non-cultivated ecosystems provide solutions to disease control in crops because wild flowers have evolved resistance to a huge range of diseases.
Exploring the diversity of wild flowers and wild diseases with the #wildplantdisease challenge this May has the potential to reveal new ranges of wild diseases and share knowledge on what is lurking out there in our wild spaces. Adding to our knowledge, like scientists who publish new discoveries in “New Disease Reports“. In addition to rusts and moulds, we are sure to uncover other elements of plant disease e.g. stress from high salt or low nutrient environments, inter-plant competition and attack from any number of pests.
Join the trend on…..
Watch out for rusts in different colours and phases on leaves and stems. Discover smuts, powdery mildews, and downy mildews. Spot some of the incredible patterns visible as signs of plant viruses and be mindful of the huge number of reasons that plants display blotches, pustules, cankers, holes, discolouration and dead tissue. See below some examples we’ve found and note the leaf miner damage at the end – mites, caterpillars and any number of invertebrates impact plants similarly to disease. The environment in which wild plants survive also impacts their health – temperature, nutrition and precipitation. Share your pictures and knowledge @wildflower_hour on Sunday for #wildplantdisease with @BS_PP!
Click on the photos below for blogs from the last #wildplantdisease challenge in August 2020.
Nichola Hawkins discusses plant diseases on wild plants.
Fay Newbery introduces Oak Powdery Mildew and how it is studied and recorded.
Fay Newbery takes us 50 metres along the road and takes a closer look at what is growing there.