Fire blight, also written fireblight, is a contagious disease affecting apples, pears, and some other members of the family Rosaceae. It is a serious concern to producers of apples and pears. Under optimal conditions, it can destroy an entire orchard in a single growing season.
The causal pathogen is Erwinia amylovora, a Gram-negative bacterium in the family Enterobacteriaceae. Pears are the most susceptible, but apples, loquat, crabapples, quinces, hawthorn, cotoneaster, pyracantha, raspberry and some other rosaceous plants are also vulnerable. The disease is believed to be indigenous to North America, from where it spread to most of the rest of the world.
Fire blight is not believed to be present in Australia though it might possibly exist there. It has been a major reason for a long-standing embargo on the importation of New Zealand apples to Australia . Japan was likewise believed to be without the disease, but it was discovered in pears grown in northern Japan. Japanese authorities are however still denying its existence and the Japanese scientist who discovered it is believed to have committed suicide after his name was leaked to affected farmers.
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Famous quotes containing the words blight and/or fire:
“There is a sort of jealousy which needs very little fire; it is hardly a passion, but a blight bred in the cloudy, damp despondency of uneasy egoism.”
—George Eliot [Mary Ann (or Marian)
“Our hearts you see not; they are pitiful;
And pity to the general wrong of Rome
As fire drives out fire, so pity pity
Hath done this deed on Caesar.”
—William Shakespeare (15641616)