FPL | Citrus Canker

Citrus Canker

Origin: Southeastern Asia (spread to Japan, South Africa, Australia, the Pacific Islands, and South America)

Impact: Citrus Canker is one of the most destructive agricultural diseases. It is caused by the bacterium Xanthomonas axonopodis.

It is highly contagious among trees and produces scab-like lesions on fruit, stems, and leaves. An infection may cause defoliation, dieback, severely blemished fruit, reduced fruit quality, and premature fruit drop.

Citrus Canker was first found in the U.S. in 1910, but was subsequently declared eradicated after millions of citrus and nursery trees were burned.

Today, the disease still exists in Florida and continues to threaten valuable citrus crops. It can be spread over short distances by severe wind and rain, flooding, air currents, insects, birds, and human movement within groves.

When an area is suspected of being infested with citrus canker, fruit or leaf samples are sent for testing by state and federal laboratories.


Xanthomonas axonopodis, pathovar citri

Photo courtesy of the U.S. Department of Agriculture