by Taetske | 4:54 pm
(Last Updated On: July 27, 2018)


Xylella Fastidiosa. It seems this bacterium is unstoppable


Olive Grove

Olive Grove

The discovery of this plague

Mr. Newton B. Pierce who lived from 1856-1916 was California’s first professional plant pathologist. He discovered this pathogenic bacterium which attacks the grapes. It was seen the first time near Anaheim in California and up till today no cure has been found.

There exist many subspecies of Xylella Fastidiosa and it can affect many different hosts. In Europe, 359 different species of plant have shown to be susceptible to this bacterium.
These include grapes, citrus, olive, lavender, peach, oak, rosemary and much more. Often the host plant does not show any symptoms but is a reservoir for infection.

I live in the south of Spain.  I read about this first time recently in a Spanish newspaper and I honestly think this is more than unsettling news. Can you imagine the world without trees and plants? Like a desert landscape with no green whatsoever. Fauna cannot exist without its supportive Flora and the same is valid the other way around.

When in California it has been present for some 100 years and still no solution was found for this plague it was only a question of time till it would reach Europe. It was first detected in Italy in 2013 in the region of Puglia. The farmers were putting up a fight not wanting to lose their century-old olive trees and the authorities acted late. The total cost was on 30.000 hectares where 1.5 million trees were lost in the end.


young almond tree in front of my house

Young Almond tree in front of my house

This plague has come to Spain

This bacterium attacks olive trees as well almonds, cherry, fig trees as also grapes and people in Spain were waiting for when it would reach here. In October 2016 it was detected in the Balearic Islands. 3 Young cherry trees from a nursery in Mallorca showed the first signs, then it moved on to the almond trees. This will greatly reduce the almond harvest within a few years, probably by 50%. The drought suffered on the islands and also the abandoning of big farmland has made it more easy for this bacterium to expand itself.  On Mallorca, there are 156 plants, 68 in Ibiza, 28 on Menorca which are host to this plague. To pull out the almond and olive trees and destroy them does not only have an economic impact it will affect tourism and the island people as such as their landscape which has been known for centuries will disappear. If they were to follow the urgent recommendation of the European Union these islands would become barren. It is not only the affected tree one has to destroy but everything growing in a 100m radius surrounding this tree as well. Mallorca has some experience with something similar. 100 Years ago the 40.000 hectares of vineyards were reduced to only 2.500 due to Filoxera.


adelfa flowers

Adelfa flowers


Also in other countries in Europe, the Xylella Fastidiosa has been detected. In July 2015 it arrived on Corcega, 340 cases up till now. Also in the Provence, there are already 20 cases. In Germany has been 1 case registered up to this date. It was in a flowerpot with an Adelfa also called Oleander. Along the highways in Europe and especially in the south, you will often see this plant with it’s pretty white, pink and danker blossoms.


barren land

Barren land

Thousands of years olive culture

In Spain exist 900 different varieties of olives. All are kept in the bank of the Germoplasma Institute of Agriculture formation. Like this, the thousands of years of olive culture are safeguarded. 25.000 square km and thousands of jobs are in jeopardize. Hopefully, soon a solution can be found as there is the risk of Europe and especially the south becoming like a Sahara.

Photo Source: Pixabay and Private


Vic Lees

Hello Taetske
Wow What an article. Why is this not popular knowledge especially with dwindling world food supplies. I can’t believe I have never heard of this plague before now. Is it really as bad as it seems? Do we not have any defense against this bacterium in our agricultural sprays? Thank you for a very informative article-it sure opened my eyes to this problem!

Sep 24.2017 | 08:16 pm


    Good evening Vic,

    Yes, it is an awful situation and up till now no other solution has been found but to destroy anything growing in a radius of 100m. I am worried as in our world we have already so many serious problems. If a solution is found and hopefully soon, let it not be one where some stupid pesticide will be used.

    Regards, Taetske

    Sep 24.2017 | 08:43 pm


Wow this is very unsettling and I’m curious as why there aren’t more news reports on it. It’s disturbing to me the extent of the virus and how far reaching it is. I had always thought the Ebola virus was localized to humans only. Do you know if this Ebola virus was man made or the origin of it? How does it spread exactly? Can humans get it from plants and vice versa? Are there preventative measures people can do to stop the spread?

Sep 24.2017 | 08:18 pm


    Good evening Catherine,

    I am sorry that  my post made you think this bacterium can attack humans, that is not the case. Still, when nature disappears I do not know what will happen to us to tell you the truth as it will cause a tremendous disbalance in our world.

    Regards, Taetske

    Sep 24.2017 | 08:36 pm

Jack Taylor

What a terrible situation for people that already have so much to overcome. It’s sad that the news media doesn’t report this, instead they report lies and propaganda.

Who cares about what the Kardashians had for breakfast! Anyways, great article. Let’s all hope for a solution to this tragedy as soon as possible.

Thanks for informing us on the situation.


Oct 12.2017 | 06:42 pm


    Good evening Jack,

    Thank you for visiting my website. The situation is more than serious. as no other solution has been found but to eliminate everything in a 100meter radius.
    Just now there are those terrible fires in California in Napa valley close by to where this was discovered some 100 years ago.
    You are right it is of no importance what the Kardashians had for breakfast but sadly thousands of people think it it is.

    Regards, Taetske

    Oct 12.2017 | 07:04 pm


Such a moving post.
Recently I was looking into buying a plot of land in the Zaragoza area of Spain, you know growing some olives and almonds after I fell in love with farming in Australia. After extensive research I came across this worrying virus. As jack Taylor said, who really cares what the Kim and Kanye had for breakfast.
Humanity is loosing sight of what’s important in the world these days….such a shame.

Oct 15.2017 | 01:57 pm


    Good afternoon Anthony,

    It is indeed worrying to see the public being more interested in what the “famous” are doing instead of taking care of the place we live. Up till now we only have this planet and we should, all together, take good care of Mother Earth. The Ebola of the Olive Tree is a very bad thing as no real cure has been found yet. In California, because of this huge catastrophe with the fires in many places the grapevines were lost, the same place where it all started 100 years ago. Sorry to hear you are put off in getting a plot of land in Spain. All southern countries are facing the same problem and to tell you the truth I am also worried what might happen on my farm in the south of Spain.
    Thank you for visiting my website, I hope to see you again,

    Regards, Taetske

    Oct 15.2017 | 03:25 pm

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