First French olive trees infected by Xylella

The French Ministry of Agriculture has found Xylella fastidiosa for the first time in ornamental olive trees, on the southern French coast.

The phytosanitary service of the department discovered the bacterium in two ornamental olive trees during monitoring a demarcated area along the Côte d’Azur. In that area Xylella fastidiosa subsp. pauca was found in Polygala myrtifolia back in 2015. Earlier that same year X. fastidiosa subsp. multiplex was discovered in Polygala on the French island of Corsica.

The two infected olive trees have already been destroyed. One tree stood in Menton, north of Nice, and contained pauca: the same species as the one in southern Italian olive trees for olive production. The other tree was in Antibes, south of Nice, and contained multiplex.

According to the European Commission 25 outbreaks of Xylella have already occurred in the demarcated area in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region. There were around 350 outbreaks on the island of Corsica, which is completely demarcated. In both areas the most infections were in Polygala bushes.

Photo by French Ministry of Agriculture

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