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The Collaborative International Dictionary

Phylloxera \Phyl`lox*e"ra\, n. [NL., fr. Gr. ? leaf + ? dry.]

  1. (Zo["o]l.) A small hemipterous insect ( Phylloxera vastatrix) allied to the aphids. It attacks the roots and leaves of the grapevine, doing great damage, especially in Europe.

    Note: It exists in several forms, some of which are winged, other wingless. One form produces galls on the leaves and twigs, another affects the roots, causing galls or swellings, and often killing the vine.

  2. The diseased condition of a vine caused by the insect just described.


n. An aphid, (taxlink Daktulosphaira vitifoliae species noshow=1) of the family Phylloxeridae (not the genus ''Phylloxera''), that is very destructive to grape vines; also, the diseased condition of a vine caused by this aphid. (from 19th c.)


Grape phylloxera (Daktulosphaira vitifoliae (Fitch 1855); family Phylloxeridae); originally described in France as Phylloxera vastatrix; equated to the previously described Daktulosphaira vitifoliae, Phylloxera vitifoliae; commonly just called phylloxera (; from Greek φύλλον, leaf, and ξερόν, dry) is a pest of commercial grapevines worldwide, originally native to eastern North America.

These almost microscopic, pale yellow sap-sucking insects, related to aphids, feed on the roots and leaves of grapevines (depending on the phylloxera genetic strain). On Vitis vinifera L., the resulting deformations on roots ("nodosities" and "tuberosities") and secondary fungal infections can girdle roots, gradually cutting off the flow of nutrients and water to the vine. Nymphs also form protective galls on the undersides of grapevine leaves of some Vitis species and overwinter under the bark or on the vine roots; these leaf galls are typically only found on the leaves of American vines.

American vine species (such as Vitis labrusca) have evolved to have several natural defenses against phylloxera. The roots of the American vines exude a sticky sap that repels the nymph form when it tries to feed from the vine by clogging its mouth. If the nymph is successful in creating a feeding wound on the root, American vines respond by forming a protective layer of tissue to cover the wound and protect it from secondary bacterial or fungal infections.

Currently there is no cure for phylloxera and unlike other grape diseases such as powdery or downy mildew, there is no chemical control or response. The only successful means of controlling phylloxera has been the grafting of phylloxera resistant American rootstock (usually hybrid varieties created from the Vitis berlandieri, Vitis riparia and Vitis rupestris species) to more susceptible European vinifera vines.

Usage examples of "phylloxera".

I hardly think the boffins will have explored the possibility of a mutated and highly-virulent oidium phylloxera fungus, but I should think that the prospect of developing a nasty bug which poisons grapevines rather than en-tire populations ought to appeal to whatever small spark of common humanity they may yet retain.

That blight, phylloxera, killed all the vines around the turn of the century.

People had begun leaving in 1913, when the phylloxera blight ruined the currants.

The man who had come this morning had walked all the aisles with Magnus and Miguel, randomly checking for phylloxera, which had apparently hit a vineyard north of them.

Then came the Phylloxera, the vine-stocks perished and the once green table-land is now no more than a desolate stretch where a few tufts of hardy grasses sprout among the pebbles.

Mont-Bazillac is extinct, swept out of existence by the phylloxera when you were a babe in arms.

The old vines, the primitive stock, were slain by the phylloxera, and the new vines planted to replace them do not produce a wine like that over which Popes and poets once were gay.

That terrible scourge the phylloxera has got among the vineyards, where it is committing its usual havoc.

We have to spray our house plants to get rid of them, and often our garden flowers as well, and they do a great deal of damage to fruits and vegetables, and one of them, the phylloxera, has nearly destroyed the vineyards of France.

In fact, some of his rootstock was commandeered and sent back to France in 1906 to replace the vines decimated by the hideous root bug, Phylloxera, which plagued its way throughout the whole country.