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Key Biscayne, Florida. Photo: Julian Finney/Getty Images

Florida’s official state tree, the sabal palm, is under threat from a rapidly spreading, fatal disease. It turns trees to dried crisps in months — and they have no chance for recovery, AP reports.

Why it matters: Lethal bronzing disease has gone from a small infestation on Florida’s Gulf Coast to a nearly statewide problem in just over a decade, per AP, which notes that "some worry it will migrate to California and Arizona, infecting date palms and damaging that fruit crop."

Lethal bronzing is akin to the tree version of deadly malaria."
— Statement by University of Florida researcher Brian Bahder

The big picture: The invasive disease, also known as Texas Phoenix Palm Decline, has been rapidly spreading since it was discovered in Florida in 2006, according to a University of Florida (UF) report.

  • Lethal bronzing is spread by leafhoppers, "which are kind of like mosquitoes for plants," said Brian Bahder, a UF assistant professor of insect vector ecology, in a statement.
  • Bahder was involved in a study that confirmed the disease in the tall, broad-leafed palm trees had spread to 8 new Florida counties.

Go deeper: Satellites are helping track invasive species on Earth

Go deeper

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus deaths reach 4,000 per day as hospitals remain in crisis mode — CDC warns highly transmissible coronavirus variant could become dominant in U.S. in March.
  2. Politics: Biden says, "We will manage the hell out of" vaccine distribution — Biden taps ex-FDA chief to lead Operation Warp Speed amid rollout of COVID plan — Widow of GOP congressman-elect who died of COVID-19 will run to fill his seat.
  3. Vaccine: Battling Black mistrust of the vaccines"Pharmacy deserts" could become vaccine deserts — Instacart to give $25 to shoppers who get vaccine.
  4. Economy: Unemployment filings explode againFed chair: No interest rate hike coming any time soon —  Inflation rose more than expected in December.
  5. World: WHO team arrives in China to investigate pandemic origins.

NRA declares bankruptcy, says it will reincorporate in Texas

Wayne LaPierre of the National Rifle Association (NRA) speaks during CPAC in 2016. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

The National Rifle Association said Friday it has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and will seek to reincorporate in Texas, calling New York, where it is currently registered, a "toxic political environment."

The big picture: The move comes just months after New York Attorney General Letitia James filed a lawsuit to dissolve the NRA, alleging the group committed fraud by diverting roughly $64 million in charitable donations over three years to support reckless spending by its executives.

3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Biden: "We will manage the hell out of" vaccine distribution

Joe Biden. Photo: Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

President-elect Joe Biden promised to invoke the Defense Production Act to increase vaccine manufacturing, as he outlined a five-point plan to administer 100 million COVID-19 vaccinations in the first months of his presidency.

Why it matters: With the Center for Disease Control and Prevention warning of a more contagious variant of the coronavirus, Biden is trying to establish how he’ll approach the pandemic differently than President Trump.