Fringe Tree Possible Host for Emerald Ash Borer

Fringe tree, Chionanthus virginicus,  Image L V Gregory
Fringe tree, Chionanthus virginicus, Image L V Gregory

On October 14, 2014, the USDA Systematic Entomology Laboratory (SEL) at the Smithsonian confirmed partial adult and larval specimens recovered from a white fringetree (Chionanthus virginicus) as emerald ash borer (EAB) (Agrilus planipennis Fairmaire). EAB larvae and a partial adult specimen were collected from four white fringetrees up to 20 miles from one another in the Dayton, OH area. D-shaped exit holes and fully developed galleries in wood were identical to those caused by EAB.

Based on these findings, APHIS PPQ is conducting studies whether EAB is able to complete its lifecycle on white fringetree as a host, which will take several months. APHIS is also revisiting research on whether other members of the Olive family can serve as hosts of EAB and whether this is a local phenomenon.  APHIS will engage national, state, and industry partners as part of the regulatory decision making process should APHIS officially declare white fringetree as an EAB host and the plant and its parts as regulated articles under the regulations, quarantine, and detection aspects of the EAB program.

White fringetree is in the olive family, as is the genus Fraxinus (ash). Other members of the olive family, including lilac and privet, were tested, and are not considered suitable hosts for EAB.  Further study and evaluation of white fringetree’s suitability as a host will be undertaken. White fringetree is native to the United States and grows wild from New Jersey south to Florida and west to Oklahoma and Texas. It is a popular ornamental tree that has been planted in other parts of the country.

10/23/14 NFG