Phillyrea latifolia L. (also known as “mock privet”), Lavandula stoechas L. (the “French lavender”) and Eremophila maculata F. Muell. (the “spotted emu bush”), three plant species forming largely spread shrubs in the Mediterranean “macchia”, have been recently found infected by Xylella fastidiosa in Salento (Italy), thus joining the lengthening list of plant hosts susceptible to the Apulian strain of the bacterium.
On June 20, 2016 the joint research team from CNR-IPSP and UNIBA-DiSSPA gave formal communication to the Regional Phytosanitary Service of the new discovery, already confirmed three times in their laboratories by ELISA, PCR and qPCR assays. Limitedly to P. latifolia the culture isolation of the bacterium has been also successfully achieved.
Following this new findings, the EC Directorate General for Health and Food Safety is now expected to release the fifth update of the Commission database gathering all the host plants found to be susceptible to Xylella fastidiosa in the EU countries.
The identification of these three new hosts has been conducted in the framework of POnTE activities investigating the epidemiological role of spontaneous and ornamental flora in the spread of Xylella fastidiosa in the Salento area.