Erwin Frink Smith; a Story of North American Plant Pathology

By Andrew Denny Rodgers | Go to book overview

CHAPTER VI
EARLY STUDIES IN BACTERIAL PLANT DISEASES. FUSARIUM DISEASES OF PLANTS. FLORIDA AND CALIFORNIA LABORATORIES

ON MAY 7, 1892, James W. Toumey, botanist and entomologist of the Arizona Agricultural College and Experiment Station at Tucson, sent Smith"a small box containing cherry and peach leaves which show[ed] peculiar circular holes and indentations. Rose, peach, apricot, cherry and some of our native shrubs and trees," said Tourney in his accompanying letter,

are affected in a similar manner. On some trees, this disease, if it may be called such, is so bad that nothing is left of the leaves but midrib. The tissue in affected leaves withers and dies in narrow circular streaks and soon the intervening tissue or part of leaf drops out. The remainder of leaf in all cases apparently is perfectly healthy. Whether this condition is brought about by unfavorable conditions of growth, I do not know. I would be pleased for any information in regard to it that you can give.

Tourney had graduated in science from Michigan Agricultural College in 1889, and before obtaining his master's degree from the same institution in 1895, spent part of the year 1893 as a special student at Harvard. In his later prepared bulletin 33 of the Arizona Agricultural Experiment Station, "An Inquiry into the Cause and Nature of Crown-Gall,"1 he stated that his attention was first called to another disease variously known as crowngall, crown-knot, root knot, root galls, etc., in 1893 from "many observations . . . made in infested orchards in the Salt River Valley." He examined the disease, its development, and possible corrective measures. The next year was published his preliminary report,2 the same year Smith's general account of "Stem and Root Tumors"3 from his "Field Notes, 1892" reached mycologists and pathologists. Smith said in part:

____________________
1
April 13, 1900, Published accounts relating to crown-gall, 8.
2
Bull. 12 Ariz. Agric. Exp't Sta., 1894.
3
Jour. Myc. 7( 4): 376-377, Aug. 15, 1894. See also Bulletin of the Torrey Botanical Club 20: 363 (proc. Botanical Club, American Assoc. Adv. Sci., Madison meet., August 18-22, 1893, abstract or statement by Smith concerning his preliminary microscopic examinations).

-228-

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