Pest categorisation of Plicosepalus acaciae
The EFSA Panel on Plant Health performed a pest categorisation of Plicosepalus acaciae (Zuccarini) Wiens & Polhill), the acacia strap flower, a hemiparasitic plant of the family Loranthaceae parasitising woody plants. Host plants include several species of the genera Vachellia, Tamarix and Ziziphus and various fruit crops. P. acaciae is present in the Middle East and Eastern Africa and is not known to occur in the EU. P. acaciae has a long flowering period of about 10 months, from June to April the following year, during which flowers are pollinated by insects and birds. P. acaciae produces single seeded red berries that are eaten by birds, which then disseminate the seeds. The only known bird observed to disseminate the seeds of P. acaciae is Pycnonotus xanthopygos, which has been recorded just once (Spain) but it is not established in the EU. P. acaciae could enter into the EU with host plants for planting. Host plants are present and suitable climatic conditions occur in parts of the EU. If a suitable bird would adapt to transfer the seeds, establishment and spread of P. acaciae within the EU would be possible. If P. acaciae would be able to establish and spread, impacts on some crop plants (e.g. Juglans regia, Ficus carica, Punica granatum, Pistacia vera), ornamental plants, as well as native vegetation could occur. P. acaciae fulfils the criteria that are within the remit of EFSA to assess for this species to be regarded as a potential Union quarantine pest. Uncertainty remains on bird species other than P. xanthopygos transferring P. acaciae, the magnitude of potential impacts and the host range.
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