Impact of the rust Puccinia linkii on Highbush Cranberry, Viburnum edule, near Smithers, British Columbia


  • Kiri Daust 12895 Cottonwood Road, Telkwa, British Columbia V0J 2X3



Puccinia linkii, Viburnum edule, Highbush Cranberry, rust, foliar pathogen, berry sweetness, effects of rust, British Columbia


The berries of Highbush Cranberry (Viburnum edule) are an important food source for wildlife and for people in rural areas. In 2012 and 2013, many Highbush Cranberry plants in northwestern British Columbia were unusually severely infected by the rust Puccinia linkii, with telia covering up to half of each leaf. Given the ecological importance of the overwintering berries, I studied the impact of the infection on the production and quality of berries in mixed forests near Smithers, British Columbia. Sites where Highbush Cranberry bushes were infected with the rust had significantly more undeveloped berries. Plants from sites with higher levels of infection produced berries with significantly less sugar. Dead leaf tissue was also significantly more prevalent in infected plants. This study provides evidence that Puccinia linkii may stress plants, leading to reduced quality and quantity of berries, especially if the severity of the infection increases with the increasingly moist springs that are projected for the region.