What is blackleg of canola?

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 Blackleg is a disease of the cabbage family and occurs on crops such as mustard and canola. It is caused by two species of fungi. One species, Leptosphaeria maculans, is a highly virulent, or aggressive, pathogen of canola that can cause serious yield losses in susceptible canola crops. It infects canola seedlings early in the season and colonizes plants through the summer, eventually causing a dry rot at the base of the stem that cuts off water and nutrient flows. The diseased plants ripen prematurely, have reduced seed yield and may even be killed. The other fungus, Leptosphaeria biglobosa, causes mild infections that do not lead to significant economic losses and is therefore less of a concern to canola producers.
The virulent or aggressive blackleg fungus was first detected in Canada in 1975 in east central Saskatchewan, but today both blackleg fungi occur everywhere canola is grown in western Canada.
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This information published to the web on July 9, 2013.
Last Reviewed/Revised on June 29, 2017.