Guest Essay Global hosts and global pathogens: a perspective

  • Janis Antonovics University of Virginia
  • Katherine Hayden Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh


Plant species are assailed by a remarkable diversity of pathogens, and these and other pests pose a serious direct risk to collections in botanic gardens as well as a potential source of pathogen escape. The high diversity of species in gardens combined with low population numbers minimises the likelihood of disease spread of specialist pathogens, but importation of novel pathogens is a constant concern. In parallel with natural systems, there is little data on pathogen loads in botanic gardens, on what accession policies minimise these and if such loads are likely to differ by country of origin or plant life form. Nevertheless, commonsense measures such as prohibiting the importation of plants in soil, shifting to seed and in vitro propagation, and inspection and quarantine on receiving and transferring plants should be implemented.
This edition of Sibbaldia explores a variety of directions for improving our ability to develop strategies for dealing not just with pathogen threats, but with a more rational approach to pests and to microbial interactions that are a natural part of a plant’s heritage.

Author Biographies

Janis Antonovics, University of Virginia

Research Professor

Katherine Hayden, Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh

Katherine Hayden is a Mycologist and Plant Health Officer


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How to Cite
Antonovics, J., & Hayden, K. (2020). Guest Essay Global hosts and global pathogens: a perspective. Sibbaldia: The International Journal of Botanic Garden Horticulture, (18), 5-17.