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1 December 2010 Potential Effects of Laurel Wilt on the Flora of North America
Joel M. Gramling
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Laurel Wilt is caused by a recently identified fungal pathogen infecting plants in the Lauraceae. Laurel Wilt is transmitted by Xyleborus glabratus (Redbay Ambrosia Beetle), which was recently introduced to the southeastern United States from Asia. As the insect expands its range in the US, so too has the disease. A query of the NatureServe Explorer database was used to identify the conservation status of native plant species and recognized plant communities that may be affected by Laurel Wilt. Laurel Wilt affects at least nine plant species, and all fifteen species in the Lauraceae currently found in North America may ultimately prove to be hosts for the disease. Four of the twelve native lauraceous species had been identified as vulnerable to extirpation or extinction, prior to the introduction of Laurel Wilt. There are 55 plant communities in the US and Canada that have a member of the Lauraceae as a dominant or diagnostic species. The majority of these plant communities have been identified as vulnerable. Agricultural industries that are based upon Persea americana (Avocado) cultivation in Florida and California are threatened by Laurel Wilt as well. Given the potential impact of this disease on lauraceous plants and their associated communities, these taxa and assemblages should be monitored for the arrival and impact of Laurel Wilt.

Joel M. Gramling "Potential Effects of Laurel Wilt on the Flora of North America," Southeastern Naturalist 9(4), 827-836, (1 December 2010).
Published: 1 December 2010
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