Xylella fastidiosa can infect over 500 species of plants, including crops, trees and ornamental plants. Infected plants can show leaf scorching, loss of leaves or fruit. Although these symptoms may not appear at first, infected plants will eventually die and there is no known cure for the disease. Although Xylella is not currently in the UK, there is the chance it could be imported through the importing of infected plant material.
- Work with to create a suite of educational materials to identify potential host plants and their symptoms to raise Xylella awareness.
- Communicate with the volunteer networks of PlantNetwork, International Plant Sentinel Network and the wider community to encourage surveillance for symptoms of Xylella.
- Improve knowledge of geographic distributions of plant host ranges across the UK.
- Improve diagnostic tests to screen for Xylella infected plants trying to enter the UK.
- Model human movement of plants into and across the country to inform control strategy
High risk hosts
France, the main affected host is the ornamental landscape shrub Polygala myrtifolia but species of Cistus, Hebe, lavender, Prunus, ash, oak and sycamore. In mainland Spain, infection has be found on almond, olive and Polygala.
Potential plant hosts of Xylella entering the UK are accompanied by a plant passport to show they have been officially inspected and sourced from disease free sites. Additional checks are carried out on hosts considered to be higher risk before they can enter the country. These plants are:
- Polygala myrtifolia
- Olea europaea
- Rosmarinus officinalis
- Lavandula sp.
- Prunus dulcis
- Nerium oleander
- Spartium junceum
Further information on these species and special advice for importers can be found on the Defra Plant Health Information Portal.
Photo from Steven White.