Anthracnose of Gourds

As Thanksgiving approaches, I have noticed that the gourds I set out before Halloween are starting to rot. But before I throw them away, what is causing the lesions?

The circular lesions that can be seen in Figure 1 and 2 are symptoms of anthracnose of gourd.   That is, the pathogen that is causing the lesions in the accompanying figures is Colletotrichum orbiculare.   This is the same pathogen as the one that causes anthracnose on other cucurbits such as watermelon. (It is possible that the anthracnose is caused by a different species of Colletotrichum. Even if the pathogen is C. orbiculare, I am not sure of the race. More research would be required.)

 

The lesions on this gourd are symptoms of anthracnose.

The lesions on this gourd are symptoms of anthracnose.

A close-up of the anthracnose lesion on gourd.

A close-up of the anthracnose lesion on gourd.

 

A second question is how the pathogen contacted the gourd sitting in a basket in my house since early October.   This is a harder question to answer.   My guess is that the pathogen contacted the gourd when it was in the field.   However, the lesion didn’t start until much later. It maybe that as the gourd began to breakdown the fungus on the surface of the gourd was able to cause a lesion.

Since the gourd lasted several weeks beyond harvest, there are probably no field control measures for this post-harvest disease.   However, gourds harvested for long-term keeping might survive better if 1) wiped clean after harvest or perhaps surface disinfested and 2) quickly dried after harvest.

I have no problem throwing away fall decorations. It will soon be time for Christmas decorations anyway.

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