Fire blight is a bacterial disease caused by Erwinia amylovora. It typically affects trees and shrubs leading to a burnt appearance.
Tissues affected by the symptoms of Erwinia amylovora include blossoms, fruits, shoots, and branches of apple (Pomoideae), pear, and many other rosaceous plants. All symptoms are above ground and are typically easy to recognize. Symptoms on blossoms include water soaking of the floral receptacle, ovary, and peduncles. This results in a dull, gray-green appearance at 1–2 weeks after petal fall, and eventually tissues will shrivel and turn black. The base of the blossom and young fruit show similar symptoms as infection spreads. Opaque white- or amber-colored droplets of bacterial ooze can be seen on the infected tissue when the environment is high in humidity. Shoots show similar symptoms but develop much more rapidly. A “Shepherd's Crook” can be seen when the tip of the shoot wilts, and diseased shoot leaves typically have blackening along the mid-vein and then die. In number, diseased shoots give the tree a blighted appearance. Initial infection of blossoms and shoots can spread to larger tree limbs. Branches will darken and become water soaked. Advanced infection develops cracks in bark and a sunken surface. Wood under the bark will become streaked with black discoloration. Immature fruit forms water-soaked lesions and later turned black. Bacterial ooze can be found on these lesions. Severe infections result in fruit turning entirely black and shriveling.
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