Advertisement

Bacteria Suspected as Scourge Wilts Oleander Hedges

February 25, 1996|Associated Press

PALM SPRINGS — The victims, tough desert dwellers all, were unlikely victims for a serial killer. But botanists have finally found a likely suspect.

Bacteria that infiltrate oleander hedges may be the cause of "oleander scorch," a disease that has been shriveling the hardy plants for several years in the Coachella Valley.

The plague has cropped up, to a lesser extent, in Los Angeles, Orange and San Bernardino counties, although its extent hasn't been determined.

Xylella fastidiosa, the bacterium, may be spread by an insect called the sharpshooter leafhopper, scientists surmise after a research campaign undertaken last year at several California universities.

The same bacteria ravaged Southern California's grape industry in the 1880s, destroying 35,000 acres of vineyards.

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|