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Hymenoscyphus fraxineus (chalara ash dieback)

Hymenoscyphus fraxineus is a virulent fungal pathogen of ash trees that causes 'chalara ash dieback' in northern and central Europe and has recently spread to the UK.
Hymenoscyphus fraxineus (chalara ash dieback fungus) on twig

Hymenoscyphus fraxineus (Photo: V. Queloz/ETH Zurich, Switzerland)

Species information

Scientific name: 

Hymenoscyphus fraxineus (T. Kowalski) Baral, Queloz, Hosoya

Common name: 

chalara ash dieback, European ash dieback, chalara fraxinea, chalara dieback of ash

Conservation status: 

Not assessed.

Habitat: 

Dead and dying parts (including twigs and petioles) of European ash (Fraxinus excelsior), narrow-leaved ash (F. angustifolia) and possibly other Fraxinus species.

Key Uses: 

None known.

Known hazards: 

No direct hazards have been reported.

Taxonomy

Phylum: 
Ascomycota
Subphylum: 
Pezizomycotina
Order: 
Helotiales
Family: 
Helotiaceae
Genus: Hymenoscyphus

About this species

A virulent fungal pathogen of ash trees, Hymenoscyphus fraxineus was first recognized in its asexual form as the cause of dieback of ash trees in Poland. It was originally described as Chalara fraxinea, and this name is frequently used in the popular literature. The origin of the species is not understood in detail, but it seems likely that the fungus was introduced to Europe from eastern Asia.

Hymenoscyphus fraxineus is similar in appearance to H. albidus, a common and widespread species native to Europe, which fruits on dead ash petioles and twigs but does not cause disease. Recent research in Denmark has suggested that H. fraxineus is an aggressive competitor, occupying the same ecological niche as H. albidus, leading to decline of the native fungus.

Synonym: 

Chalara fraxinea T.Kowalski; Hymenoscyphus pseudoalbidus V.Queloz, C.R.Grünig, R.Berndt, T.Kowalski, T.N.Sieber & O.Holdenrieder

Genus: 
Hymenoscyphus

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