EPPO Alert list – Neonectria neomacrospora (anamorph: Cylindrocarpon cylindroides)




Since 2008, a new and severe canker disease caused by Neonectria neomacrospora (anamorph Cylindrocarpon cylindroides) has been observed on firs (Abies spp.) in Norway. In 2011, the same disease was also found in Denmark causing damage on fir trees. The fungus was detected in 2015 in Southern Sweden and in 2017 in Belgium and France, in Finland and Germany in 2018. The Panel on Quarantine Pests for Forestry recommended that N. neomacrospora is added to the EPPO Alert List. 



Symptoms on Abies concolor - All pictures were kindly provided 
by Venche Talgø, Norwegian Institute of Bioeconomy Research (NO)




The geographical distribution of N. neomacrospora remains to be clarified and it is not entirely clear whether this is a recently emerging fungus in Europe or a re-emerging one. According to the literature, cankers caused by this fungus have probably been observed in North America on A. balsamea as early as the 1930s. However, there is very little information about the current situation of this fungus in North America. In Europe, there are some old records of its presence. In Norway, when the herbarium specimen of the fungus recorded in 1951 under the name Nectria cucurbitula on Abies alba, A. balsamea, A. concolor and A. nordmanniana was re-examined in 1962, it was found to be identical to Nectria cucurbitula var. macrospora (= N. neomacrospora). The anamorph Cylindrocarpon cylindroides was first described from grafted A. concolor in a German nursery more than 100 years ago, but until recently there was no indication that a canker disease occurred in Germany. In this country, symptoms of a canker disease were observed in 2013 on A. concolor  by scientists, but the presence of N. neomacrospora could only be confirmed in 2018. The fungus was also detected for the first time in Belgium on Abies grandis saplings (Luxembourg province) in 2017, and in Finland in 2018. In Asia, N. neomacrospora was first found in 2014 in the province of Hubei in China.
EPPO region: Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Norway, Sweden, United Kingdom (an Internet source mentions recent identifications).
North America: Canada (British Columbia), USA (Oregon, Washington).
Asia: China (Hubei).


On which plants

N. neomacrospora has been reported on many Abies species, such as: A. alba (European silver fir), A. amabilis (Pacific silver fir), A. balsamea (balsam fir), A. balsamea var. phanerolepis (Canaan fir), A. cephalonica (Greek fir), A. concolor (white fir), A. durangensis, A. fargesii (Farges's fir), A. fraseri (Fraser fir), A. grandis (grand fir), A. kawakamii (Taiwan fir), A. koreana (Korean fir), A. lasiocarpa (subalpine fir), A. magnifica (Californian red fir), A. nebrodensis (Sicilian fir), A. nordmanniana (Nordmann fir), A. nordmanniana subsp. equitrojani (Turkish fir), A. numidica (Algerian fir), A. pinsapo (Spanish fir), A. procera (noble fir), A. sibirica (Siberian fir), A. vejarii. It has also occasionally been found on Picea abies (Norway spruce), Pseudotsuga menziesii (Douglas fir), and Tsuga heterophila (Western hemlock).


Perithecia on Abies concolor


Symptoms are characterized by dead shoots and branches, cankers, branch dieback and heavy resin flow. Under humid conditions, characteristic red perithecia with ascospores (sexual stage) develop on plant material that has been dead for some time (usually more than 1 year). These red fruiting bodies are usually observed in the lower part of the crown and close to the trunk. Conidia from the asexual state (C. cylindroides) can also form on infected bark in humid conditions. In Denmark and Norway, tree mortality has been observed on Abies spp. in landscape plantings, Christmas tree production fields, and forest stands. Studies conducted in Denmark from 2011 to 2014 on 3 trial sites planted with different provenances of A. lasiocarpa have shown that damage has increased significantly. In surveyed sites, the proportion of damaged trees increased from 40% in 2011 to 80% in 2014, and approximately 60% of the trees were seriously damaged. In these studies, it is noted that damage caused by N. neomacrospora was so serious that all A. lasiocarpa provenances from Southern USA included in the trial were rated as unsuitable for Christmas tree production in Denmark.



Ascospores are airborne and can spread over long distances. Conidia from the asexual state (Cylindrocarpon cylindroides) can be spread from tree to tree by rain splashes and physical contact between trees. N. neomacrospora is considered to be seed borne, and it has been hypothesized that the fungus has been introduced into Europe via infected seeds.


Culture on PDA

Asci with ascospores



Plants for plantings, seeds, Christmas trees, cut branches? of Abies species and other conifer hosts from countries where the fungus occurs.


Possible risks

Abies species are widely grown in the EPPO region for forestry and ornamental purposes, including the production of Christmas trees (e.g. A. nordmanniana and A. lasiocarpa). N. neomacrospora has recently caused severe outbreaks in Denmark and Norway on Abies spp. trees, leading to reduced tree quality and in some cases to tree mortality. N. neomacrospora can attack a very large number of Abies species and subspecies. In nurseries of Christmas tree plantations, some control measures have been recommended (destruction of diseased plants, chemical treatments) but these cannot be applied in forest stands. Studies have been initiated in Denmark to identify resistant or tolerant Abies species and subspecies, but the moment no positive results have been obtained. The epidemic levels which have been observed in Denmark and Norway, as well as the high number of Abies species susceptible to this fungus, indicate that attention should be paid to N. neomacrospora in the cultivation of Abies species.


Booth C, Samuels GJ (1981) Nectria neomacrospora nom. nov., a new name for Nectria macrospora (Wollenweber) Ouellette. Transactions of the British Mycological Society 77, 645-645.
Brodal G, Rosøk HB, Høst E, Talgø V (2015) Seed-borne fungi on Christmas trees. Abstract of a paper presented at the 12th International Christmas Tree Research and Extension Conference (Honne, NO, 2015-09-06/11), p 37. http://www.bioforsk.no/ikbViewer/Content/122898/NIBIO_BOOK_1(1)_2ed.pdf

Brurberg MB, Stensvand A, Talgø V (2015) Development and application of a PCR-based test for the identification of Neonectria neomacrospora damaging Abies species. Abstract of a paper presented at the 12th International Christmas Tree Research and Extension Conference (Honne, NO, 2015-09-06/11), p 34. http://www.bioforsk.no/ikbViewer/Content/122898/NIBIO_BOOK_1(1)_2ed.pdf

Chastagner G, Talgø V, Riley K (2014) Neonectria canker on true fir in western USA. The International Forestry Review 16(5), p 345. 
Chaverri P, Salgado C, Hirooka Y, Rossman AY, Samuels GF (2011) Delimitation of Neonectria and Cylindrocarpon (Nectriaceae, Hypocreales, Ascomycota) and related genera with Cylindrocarpon-like anamorphs. Studies in Mycology 68, 57-78.

Heydeck P, Merkel R, Dahms C, Hielscher K (2018) [New damages on Abies concolor in the northeastern German lowlands]. Julius-Kühn-Archiv 461,115-116 (in German).
- Forest Research. UK Disease Threats by Ana Perez-Sierra. Presentation made at the Wales Tree Health Seminars 2016. https://naturalresources.wales/media/680039/ukdisease-threats-presentation-2016.pdf

- Pettersson M, Frampton J, Rönnberg J, Talgø V (2016) Neonectria canker found on spruce and fir in Swedish Christmas tree plantations. Plant Health Progress. doi:10.1094/PHP-BR-16-0017

Nielsen KN, Thomsen IM, Hansen OK (2019) Direct quantitative realā€time PCR assay for detection of the emerging pathogen Neonectria neomacrospora. Forest Pathology, e12509. https://doi.org/10.1111/efp.12509

NPPO of Finland (2018-06).

NPPO of France (2018-05).

NPPO of Germany (2018-11).
Rietman LM, van der Kamp BJ, Shamoun SF (2005) Assessment of Neonectria neomacrospora (anamorph Cylindrocarpon cylindroides) as an inundative biocontrol agent against hemlock dwarf mistletoe. Canadian Journal of Plant Pathology 27(4), 603-609.
Skulason B, Hansen OK, Thomsen IM, Talgø V, Nielsen UB (2016) Damage by Neonectria neomacrospora and Adelges piceae in provenance trials of subalpine fir (Abies lasiocarpa) in Denmark. Forest Pathology. DOI: 10.1111/efp.12326
Schmitz S, Charlier A, Chandelier A (2017) First report of Neonectria neomacrospora on Abies grandis in Belgium. New Disease Reports 36(17). http://dx.doi.org/10.5197/j.2044-0588.2017.036.017

Talgø V, Brurberg MB, Stensvand A (2009) Neonectria canker on true fir and spruce in Norway. Proceedings of the 9th International Christmas Tree Research and Extension Conference (Corvallis, Puyallup, US, 2009-09-13/18), 58-62.
Talgø V, Fløistad IS (2015) Management of diseases in Norwegian Christmas tree fields. Abstract of a paper presented at the 12th International Christmas Tree Research and Extension Conference (Honne, NO, 2015-09-06/11), p 44. http://www.bioforsk.no/ikbViewer/Content/122898/NIBIO_BOOK_1(1)_2ed.pdf

Talgø V, Thomsen IM, Nielsen UB, Brurberg MB, Stensvand A (2011) Neonectria canker on subalpine fir (Abies lasiocarpa) in Denmark. Proceedings of the 10th International Christmas Tree Research and Extension Conference (Eichgraben, AT, 2011-08-21/27), 92-96.
Talgø V, Thomsen IM, Nielsen UB, Brurberg MB, Stensvand A (2011) Neonectria canker on subalpine fir (Abies lasiocarpa) in Denmark. Poster available from Bioforsk (NO) website: http://www.bioforsk.no/ikbViewer/Content/100752/Neonectria_VT_v1.1_A3.pdf

Talgø V, Thomsen IM, Nielsen UB, Brurberg MB, Stensvand A (2011) Neonectria canker on subalpine fir (Abies lasiocarpa) in Denmark. Proceedings of the 10th International Christmas Tree Research and Extension Conference (Eichgraben, AT, 2011-08-21/27), 92-96.
Talgø V, Thomsen IM, Nielsen UB, Brurberg MB, Stensvand A, Cech T (2011) [New species of Neonectria as a cause of cankers on true firs (Abies spp.) in Scandinavia]. Forstschutz Aktuell  54, 33-37 (in German). http://bfw.ac.at/400/pdf/fsaktuell_54_8.pdf

Talgø V, Thomsen IM, Ravn HP (2013) [Neonectria canker II. Host plants and interaction with insects]. Københavns Universitet. Skov; Landskab. Videnblade Pyntegrønt 5, 6-26 (in Danish). http://www.skovdyrkerne.dk/uploads/media/Neonectria_2.pdf

Talgø V, Thomsen IM, Stensvand A (2013) A Neonectria canker has become a serious problem on true fir in Norway and Denmark. IUFRO Work Unit 2.02.09. Christmas Tree Newsletter  5(1), 7-9.
Thomsen IM, Strømeng GM, Talgø V (2013) [Neonectria canker I. Biology and epidemiology]. Københavns Universitet. Skov; Landskab. Videnblade Pyntegrønt 5. 6-25 (in Danish). http://www.skovdyrkerne.dk/uploads/media/Neonectria_1.pdf

Thomsen IM, Talgø V (2013) [Neonectria canker III. Symptoms and control]. Københavns Universitet. Skov; Landskab. Videnblade Pyntegrønt 5, 6-27 (in Danish). http://www.skovdyrkerne.dk/uploads/media/Neonectria_3.pdf

Thomsen IM, Talgø V (2015) Neonectria neomacrospora has caused severe damage on true fir (Abies spp.) in Denmark. Abstract of a paper presented at the 12th International Christmas Tree Research and Extension Conference (Honne, NO, 2015-09-06/11), p 33. http://www.bioforsk.no/ikbViewer/Content/122898/NIBIO_BOOK_1(1)_2ed.pdf

Thomsen IM, Xu J, Talgø V (2015) Inoculation experiments with Neonectria neomacrospora on Abies nordmanniana. Abstract of a paper presented at the 12th International Christmas Tree Research and Extension Conference (Honne, NO, 2015-09-06/11), p 35. http://www.bioforsk.no/ikbViewer/Content/122898/NIBIO_BOOK_1(1)_2ed.pdf

Xu J, Nielsen UB, Talgø V, Thomsen IM, Hansen OK (2015) Effects of different factors on Neonectria neomacrospora infection on cut Abies nordmanniana branches. Abstract of a poster presented at the 5th  International Workshop on the genetics of tree-parasite interactions (Orléans, FR, 2015-08-23/28). https://belinra.inra.fr/doc_num.php?explnum_id=1029

Zeng ZQ, Zhuang WY (2016) Three new Chinese records of Nectriaceae. Mycosystema 35(11), 1399-1405.


EPPO RS 2013/234, 2017/120, 2018/016, 2018/121, 2018/146, 2019/058, 2019/092

Entry date 2017-06