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24, chemin de Borde Rouge -Auzeville - CS52627 31326 Castanet Tolosan cedex - France

Last update: May 2021

Menu Logo Principal Plant pathology unit - INRA AVIGNON

Pathologie vegetale

Zone de texte éditable et éditée et rééditée

Canker stain of plane tree

The disease is caused  by the fungus Ceratocystis fimbriata f. sp. platani, probably introduced into France from the USA in 1944

Ongoing research: selection of resistant plane trees

  • exploitation of sources of resistance identified in the USA
  • selection of the resistant plane variety Platanor Vallis Clausa (bred jointly by INRA / Nurseries ROUY Imbert) by controlled crosses between Platanus occidentalis resistant to canker stain and Platanus orientalis adapted to our climate
  • continuation of the breeding program to increase the genetic variability of selected planes and thus to enhance the stability of resistance


How to recognize the disease?

canker with characteristic stain of the margin, blue-violet veins mixed with orange (click on the figure to enlarge)

How is the epidemic spreading?

The plane tree, an emblematic ornamental tree, is now very seriously threatened. The disease is spreading relentlessly in the south of France (Aquitaine, Languedoc-Roussillon (especially along the Canal du Midi), Midi Pyrenees, Rhone Alpes and PACA) and affects now some European countries (Greece, Italy, Switzerland ...).

  • main vectors: water, human activities (pruning, maintenance of ditches, construction, shipping ...), rodents and the plane itself (by anastomosis of infected roots)
  • epidemic development favors by diversity of pathways of canker stain propagation

Disease control

  • identification of a set of stringent prophylactic measures which may limit disease spread
  • no efficient fungicide treatment could be found
  • control measures for the disease have focused on genetic breeding of plane trees to produce trees resistant to canker stain


Vigouroux, A., and Olivier, R. 2004. First hybrid plane trees to show resistance against canker stain (Ceratocystis fimbriata f. sp. platani). Forest Pathology 34: 307-319. doi:10.1111/j.1439-0329.2004.00372.x

See also

Scientific production on plane tree in HAL INRAE open archive