Plum Pocket

(Taphrina communis)

Conservation Status
Plum Pocket
 
  IUCN Red List

not listed

 
  NatureServe

 

 
  Minnesota

not listed

 
           
           
           
 
Description
 
 

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

 
     
     
 
Habitat and Hosts
 
 

American plum, Canadian plum

 
     
 
Biology
 
 

Season

 
 

Spring

 
     
 
Distribution
 
 

Distribution Map

 

Sources

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

 
  6/19/2022      
         
 

Occurrence

 
 

Uncommon

 
         
 
Taxonomy
 
  Kingdom Fungi (fungi)  
  Subkingdom Dikarya  
  Phylum Ascomycota (sac fungi)  
  Subphylum Taphrinomycotina  
  Class Taphrinomycetes  
  Subclass Taphrinomycetidae  
 

Order

Taphrinales  
 

Family

Taphrinaceae  
 

Genus

Taphrina (leaf curl fungi)  
       
 

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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MinnesotaSeasons.com Photos
 
    Plum Pocket   Plum Pocket  
           
    Plum Pocket      

 

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slideshow

       
 
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Other Videos
 
     
     
     

 

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MinnesotaSeasons.com Sightings
 
   

 

 

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Created: 12/5/2019

Last Updated:

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