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Cucurbit Genetics Cooperative Report 16:75-76 (article 27) 1993

Leaf Silvering of Squash: A Brief Review

Harry S. Paris

Department of Vegetable Crops, Agricultural Research Organization, Newe Ya'ar Experiment Station, P.O. Haifa, Israel

Leaf silvering is an important malady of squash and pumpkins in the Middle East, Puerto Rico, the southern United States, and possibly other regions (1, 2, 3, 9, 11, 12, 13). Leaf silvering was first recognized and reported as a serious disorder of squash in Israel (1, 2, 3, 4). The symptoms were illustrated and described by Paris et al. (10) in Israel and by Simons et al. (13) and Maynard and Cantliffe (9) in Florida. The symptoms, in mild cases, are silvering in and parallel to the veins in the upper surface of the leaves; in severe cases, the entire upper leaf surface is silvered and the petioles, stems, flowers, and fruits are pale in color (10). The rate of photosynthesis is about 30% lower in completely silvered than in green leaves (5).

Leaf silvering is induced by the sweetpotato whitefly, Bemisia tabaci Genn., especially by the nymphs (11, 14) of what is sometimes referred to as the poinsettia or IV-90 strain (6). Efforts to find a pathogenic organism such as a virus or viroid, associated with silvering have failed, leading to the conclusion that silvering is a systematic phytotoxemia (6, 14). Silvering is exacerbated by drought stress in the broad sense (i.e. plant water deficit) and its components (low soil moisture, high temperatures, high light intensity, long days, etc.) (3, 4, 10). Chemical control of the whitefly (8) and cultural practices which reduce plant water deficit (3, 4) have been reported to reduce the severity of the disorder. Silvering was reduced in a cultivar that was less susceptible to silvering when grown on reflective mulch with full irrigation (7).

Differential susceptibility to silvering occurs among cultivar groups, cultivars, and even among different strains of the same cultivar in Cucurbita pepo (H.S. Paris, P.J. Stoffella, and C.A. Powell, manuscript in preparation). Whilst genetic material immune to silvering has not been found, the cocozelle and vegetable groups of C. pepo have been found to contain some less susceptible cultivars.

Literature Cited

  1. Ayyalon, A. 1969. Growing green summer squash for export. Publ. 68/110/19, Agric. Exten. Serv., Israel Ministry of Agriculture, Tel Aviv (in Hebrew).
  2. Be'eri, Y. and B. Kapuler. 1963 Growing of vegetables, Part B. Summer squash, pp. 235-240. Y.M. Margalit, ed. Sifriyyat Hassadeh Publ., Tel Aviv (in Hebrew).
  3. Burger, Y. H.S. Paris., H. Nerson, Z. Karchi, and M. Edelstein. 1983. Overcoming the silvering disorder of Cucurbita. Cucurbit Genet, Coop. Rep. 6: 70-71.
  4. Burger, Y., H.S. Paris, H. Nerson, Z. Karchi, Y. Roter, D. Lozner, M. Edelstein, and A. Govers. 1983. On the leaf silvering problem of summer squash. Hassadeh 63: 2580-2581 (in Hebrew, English abstract).
  5. Burger, Y., A. Schwartz, and H.S. Paris. 1988. Physiological and anatomical features of the silvering disorder of Cucurbita. J. Hort. Sci. 63:6350640.
  6. Cohen, S., J.E. Duffus, and H.Y. Liu. 1992. A new Bemisia tabaci biotype in the southwestern United States and its role in silverleaf of squash and transmission of leattuce infectious yellows virus. Phytopathology 82: 86-90.
  7. Edelstein, M., H.S. Paris, R. Shir, G. Leibowitz, H. Nerson, and Y. Burger. 1991/ Effectsof reflective plastic mulch on fall-grown summer squash. Hassadeh 71:868-869 (in Hebrew, English abstract).
  8. Gornick, A. and N. Belizer. 1991. Prevention of silvering and virus in summer squash. Gan, sade, UMesheq: Dec. pp. 79-80 (in Hebrew).
  9. Maynard, N.D. and D.J. Cantliffe. 1989. Squash silverleaf and tomato irregular ripening: new vegetable disorders in Florida. Veg. Crops Fact Sheet VC-37, Coop. Exten. Serv. Univ. Florida, Gainesville, 4 pp.
  10. Paris, H.S., H. Nerson, and Y. Burger. 1987. Leaf silvering of Cucurbita. Can. J. Plant Sci. 67: 593-598.
  11. Schuster, D.J., J.B. Kring, and J.F. Price. 1991. Association of the sweetpotato whitefly with a silverleaf disorder of squash. HortScience 26: 155-156.
  12. Segarra-Carmona, A.E., J. Bird, J. Escudero, G. Fornaris-Rullan, and R.A. Franqui. 1990. Silvering of Cucurbita moschata (Duchesne) Poir associated with Bemisia Tabaci Genn. (Homoptera: Aleyrodidae) in Puerto Rico. J. Agric. Univ. Puerto Rico 74: 477-478.
  13. Simons, J.N., P. J. Stoffella, K.D. Shuler, and R.N. Raid. 1989. Silverleaf of squash in south Florida. Proc. Fla. St. Hort. Soc. 101 (1988): 397-399.
  14. Yokomi, R.K., K.A. Hoelmer, and L.S. Osborne. 1990. Relationships betwen the sweetpotato whitefly and the squash silverleaf disorder. Phytopathology 80: 895-900.

Contribution No. 3668-E from the Agricultural Research Organization, Bet Dagan, Israel.

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