The Threat of Water

by Avery Menear

Avery is a third-year Animal Science major at The Ohio State University. She plans to become a zookeeper when she graduates and knows how important plants and plant systems are to the environment and the animals that live in it.

oak leaf

Figure 1 : Penn State Department of Plant Pathology and Environmental Microbiology Archives, Penn State University,

A Dailymail article caught my eye this morning. It was titled “Plant disease ravaging olive groves in Spain could threaten oak trees if it reaches Britain…” and out of pure curiosity I clicked on it to read about what it was.

In Britain, broadleaf trees are dangerously susceptible to the disease and this European country fears that at some point it will make its way over from Spain.

The disease Xylella fastidiosa is most commonly known as bacterial leaf scorch because of the way that it rots the leaves. The pattern it leaves behind is almost like someone to a flame to just the outside of the leaves.

Xylella fastidiosa gets its name from the area of the plant that it affects.

The bacteria live in the water systems or xylem of the plant. Too much of the bacteria and the plant’s water supply is compromised.

It doesn’t just affect oak trees though. One of the biggest problems with this disease is its ability to wipe out entire groves of olive vines.

This disease has been found in North America, Taiwan, Italy, Spain and France. Britain’s worry is that their regulations with incoming plats are not strict enough to vet out the disease before it arrives.

  1. fastidiosa is spread by insects that carry the bacterium with them. Currently there is no cure for this disease, only prevention.

For now, all Britain can do is try and make sure that no infected plants make it over into their country.

This blog post was an assignment for Societal Issues: Pesticides, Alternatives and the Environment (PLNTPTH 4597). The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the class, Department of Plant Pathology or the instructor.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.