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U.S. Floriculture Inspectors Confiscate Chrysanthemums From Holland

According to a recent article in SAF’s Wednesday E-Brief, U.S. Floriculture inspectors in Santa Barbara County, California confiscated and destroyed a box of cut mums from Holland. This was done as part of the ongoing effort to protect U.S. Chrysanthemum growing operations from white rust. An introduction of white rust to U.S. Chrysanthemum growing operations could cause extensive losses to the U.S. Chrysanthemum industry.

White rust is caused by the Puccinia horiana fungus which can spread quickly causing severe crop loss. Plants can harbor this pathogen for up to two weeks before the symptoms appear. This pathogen is spread through contaminated soil, litter, dead leaves, gardening equipment, clothing and hands. It does, however, need a host plant in which to grow and will not grow on anything but the host plant (chrysanthemums). If you are interested, the USDA-APHIS has more information on Chrysanthemum White Rust.

The importance of this action is the fact that cut chrysanthemums from the Netherlands are currently banned in the United States. Everyone in the floral industry should be aware that “For the time being, cut mums identified as having originated in the Netherlands will be confiscated and destroyed, WITH NO COMPENSATION” according to the March 19th SAF Wednesday E-Brief.

Growers, retailers, importers and wholesalers all play a part in the U.S. floral industry. As a result, it is essential for all the players to know and understand the implications of global trade and the issues that may arise from it. Fortunately there are many organizations, like the USDA-APHIS and SAF, that work to protect and inform floral industry members of issues that directly and indirectly affect them.

As a grower, I understand the importance of this situation and the impact that uncontrolled pathogens have on crops. Prevention is of up-most importance in terms of both financial and environmental concerns. The Bloomin’ Blog is always open to discussions concerning floral industry issues. As concerns arise we will attempt to inform the floral community and encourage discussion of these issues. I encourage you to discuss floral industry concerns here or in other floral industry communities as they arise. Communication is the key to success for all of us and for a stronger healthier industry.