On April 7, 2006, there was an initial detection of gladiolus rust made in domestic gladiolus stock. Confirmation of the disease was made on April 12, 2006, by the USDA National Mycologist of the Animal Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) Agricultural Research Center in Beltsville, Md.
Uromyces transversalis, the cause of gladiolus rust, is considered of plant-quarantine importance in Europe and the United States. This fungus attacks principally hybrid cultivars of gladiolus grown for flower production and could have significant impact if the fungus became established or was transported into greenhouses or nurseries.
APHIS and Florida Department of Agriculture inspectors are currently conducting preliminary delimitation surveys. The preliminary investigation indicates disease incursion appears to be limited to a 1,400-acre commercial growing site in Palmetto, Fla. Currently, 700 acres are under active floral production this season, with 160 acres that have not been harvested.
An Emergency Action Notification was issued to the affected farm on April 17, 2006. All interstate movement of infected material has been prohibited unless the product has been inspected and found free of visible symptoms associated with gladiolus rust.
The USDA Center for Plant Health, Science and Technology organized a technical committee in Florida last week. The main objective for this meeting was to organize appropriate eradication objectives of gladiolus rust for the affected area in Florida; as of press time, those objectives were not available. APHIS will conduct a national survey through the Cooperative Agricultural Pest Survey program in areas associated with commercial gladiolus production.
According to USDA, gladiolus rust was first found in Michoacán, México, in 2004. Originally reported from Africa, the disease has been found in Argentina, Brazil, Southern Europe and Oceania.
For more information on this disease, visit the USDA-APHIS Web site at www.aphis.usda.gov .