Seiridium cardinale and other cypress cankers1


  • 1

    Paper presented at the EPPO Conference on Pest and Disease Problems in European Forests, Nancy (FR), 4–6 June, 1985.


Several species of microscopic fungi have been associated with canker diseases of wild and cultivated species of Cupressus and related genera. Seiridium cardinale was first reported in Europe (France) in 1944 and then spread to other countries, causing what at present is the major disease of cypress in Europe. Over the last two decades, heavy losses have been caused to the nursery industry, to cypress plantations used for forestation and windbreaks as well as to ornamental cypresses. The death of millions of trees has devastated the traditional and beloved landscape of areas where cypresses constitute a major element of the vegetation. Lepteutypa cupressi (anamorph Seiridium cupressi) has recently been reported in Greece (Kos). It had already caused considerable losses on cypress plantations in other geographical areas (Africa, Australia, Oceania). Some taxonomic aspects of the pathogen are discussed. The introduction of L. cupressi into the Mediterranean area, where S. cardinale has already spread, not only represents a serious threat to European cypress plantations, but also complicates the efforts made up to now towards the selection of resistant clones and the improvement of genetic resistance of the Mediterranean cypress C. sempervirens to S. cardinale. Thus, immediate action is required in order to eradicate the existing foci and to avoid further spread of the disease. Seiridium unicorne was first described in the USA in 1878 and then recorded again in North America, Europe, Asia and Oceania. The host range of this pathogen is not restricted to Cupressaceae and includes plants belonging to eight families. It seems that the canker disease due to S. unicorne is not so serious as that caused by S. cardinale or L. cupressi. L. cupressi has probably been misidentified as S. unicorne in records of epidemics in East Africa and other areas of the world.