First report of laurel wilt, caused by Raffaelea lauricola, on sassafras (Sassafras albidum) in Alabama


Laurel wilt, caused by Raffaelea lauricola, a fungal symbiont of the redbay ambrosia beetle, Xyleborus glabratus, is responsible for extensive mortality of native redbays (Persea borbonia and P. Palustris) in the coastal plains of the southeastern United States. The wilt also affect the more widespread sassafras, Sassafras albidum, particularly in areas where diseased redbays are common and populations of X. glabratus are high. Because sassafras stems were thought to lack chemicals that are attractive to the beetle, and sassafras tends to be widely scattered in forests, it was believed that the advance of the laurel wilt epidemic front might slow once it reach the edge of the natural range of redbay, which is restricted to the coastal plains of the Gulf and Atlantic coasts. In July and August of 2011, wilt-like symptoms, wilted and dead leaves, and streaks of black discoloration in the xylem were observed on 1 to 10 sassafras treees at each of three locations in Marego County, Alabama.

  • Citation: Bates, C.A.; Fraedrich, S.W.; Harrington, T.C.; Cameron, R.S.; Menard, R.D.; Best, G.S. 2013. First report of laurel wilt, caused by Raffaelea lauricola, on sassafras (Sassafras albidum) in Alabama. Plant Disease 97(5):688.
  • Keywords: laurel wilt, sassafras, raffaelea lauricola, sassafras albidum, fungal symbiont, redbay ambrosia beetle
  • Posted Date: September 30, 2013
  • Modified Date: March 4, 2014
  • Print Publications Are No Longer Available

    In an ongoing effort to be fiscally responsible, the Southern Research Station (SRS) will no longer produce and distribute hard copies of our publications. Many SRS publications are available at cost via the Government Printing Office (GPO). Electronic versions of publications may be downloaded, printed, and distributed.

    Publication Notes

    • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.
    • Our online publications are scanned and captured using Adobe Acrobat. During the capture process some typographical errors may occur. Please contact the SRS webmaster if you notice any errors which make this publication unusable.
    • To view this article, download the latest version of Adobe Acrobat Reader.