Following confirmation of an outbreak in Eastbourne, Sussex, Forestry Commission have found infections on three new host species
Four Phillyrea latifolia plants in Eastbourne, East Sussex, have been confirmed with ash dieback (Hymenoscyphus fraxineus). In a subsequent survey of Westonbirt Arboretum, the Forestry Commission has found infections on Phillyrea latifolia, Phillyrea angustifolia and Chionanthus virginicus, particularly on plants growing close to infected ash trees.
Phillyrea and Chionanthus are genera in the family Oleacae. Other Oleaceae genera include olive (Olea), lilac (Syringa), Forsythia, jasmine (Jasmina) and Osmanthus, in addition to privet (Ligustrum), Phillyrea and the fringe tree.
Forestry Research has indicated that Ligustrum vulgare and Forsythia × intermedia ‘Lynwood’ have been tested along with Olea europaea and Syringa vulgaris. In all cases, the non-ash hosts (privet, Forsythia, olive and lilac) were found to be not susceptible, which suggests it is unlikely that these species will become hosts.
As landscape professionals, we need to not only be vigilant and look out for and report ash dieback on Oleaceae ornamentals, but also consider the use of Oleaceae species in our designs in areas where ash dieback is present.
To report a suspected case of ash dieback in any of these newly identified host species, visit forestry.gov.uk.