World Cypress Disease Came From California

California may be a great place to live with its good weather, but it is the source of a dangerous tree-killing fungus. Seiridium cardinale actually began its spread across the world from the San Joaquin Valley. Cypress trees are dying by the thousands from cypress canker disease. Ninety five per cent of pine plantations primarily of cedars and junipers are affected.

The fungus jumped the Atlantic to France about 80 years ago when seedlings were imported from California. Italian cypress planted there were devastated. This pretty tree occurs all over southern Europe. Landscapes have been changed irreversibly.

Cracks in the bark are entry points for the disease that produces toxins obstructing the flow of sap, water and nutrients. The fungus clones itself asexually as well as reproducing sexually. There are two variants of the fungus. Only one of these variants is found in Europe. The second variant has found its way to the southern hemisphere. Work to develop resistant strains of cypress is proving difficult. The best way to fight the damage its to monitor the movement of trees through trade.
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