Plum Pocket

(Taphrina communis)

               
Conservation Status

IUCN Red List

not listed

Plum Pocket

NatureServe

not listed

Minnesota

not listed

Occurrence

Uncommon

Season

Spring

Habitat/Hosts

American plum, Canadian plum

 
Identification

Plum Pocket is a fungus that infects all species of native plum but does not infect commercially cultivated plums from Europe and Asia. It occurs across the United States and in southern Ontario Canada. It is uncommon in Minnesota. It causes deformation and underdevelopment of fruit but is not fatal to the plant.

Plum pocket spores overwinter on twigs and buds of the host. The spores germinate in early spring and infect young developing fruit 6 to 8 weeks after the buds open. The infection first appears as small white blisters on the fruit. The vegetative part of the fungus (mycelium) grows between the cells of the fruit, causing the cells to expand and divide abnormally. The blisters enlarge as the fruit grows, and eventually envelop the entire fruit. Spore-bearing cells (asci) eventually break through the skin (epidermis) of the fruit.

The result is an enlarged, misshapen fruit with a grayish velvety coating. Seeds do not develop in infected fruits, and the hollow plums are called “pockets”. When the asci mature they release their spores which are spread by wind and splashed by rain to new plants and new parts of the same plant. These spores do not germinate until the following spring. Eventually the pockets turn brown or black and fall from the plant.

 
Similar
Species

 

 
Distribution Distribution Map  

Sources: 4, 7, 26, 29, 30, 77.

 
Comments

 

 
Taxonomy

Division:

Ascomycota (sac fungi)

 

Subdivision:

Taphrinomycotina

 

Class:

Taphrinomycetes

 

Subclass:

Taphrinomycetidae

 

Order:

Taphrinales

 

Family:

Taphrinaceae

 

Genus:

Taphrina

 
Synonyms

Exoascus communis

Lalaria communis

 
Common
Names

Leaf Curl

Plum Pocket

 

 

 

 

 

Glossary

Mycelium

The vegetative part of a fungus; consisting of a mass of branching, thread-like hyphae, through which a fungus absorbs nutrients from its environment; and excluding the fruiting, reproductive structure.

       
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  Plum Pocket   Plum Pocket
       
  Plum Pocket    
       

 

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Created: 12/5/2019

Last Updated:

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