Bitter rot

Bitter rot, rot that only becomes visible in storage.

Also known as:
Bark canker of apple
Bull’s eye rot of apple

Related to:
Neofabraea vagabunda

recognize bitter rot on apples
Bitter rot on apple, photo: Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (UK)

Bitter rot (Neofabraea alba), rot that only becomes visible in storage. What starts as a red dot grows into a round, slightly sunken brown spot with a circular lighter spot in the center.

The fungus Neofabraea lives in cankers in trees, in pruning wounds and leaf scars. In these canker spots, spores are produced which, after spreading, infect the lenticels of the fruits. Apple is more susceptible to bitter rot than pear.

Affected apples and pears are still edible, but don’t wait too long to consume them, because the fungus grows quickly.

Where to find


After infection, recovery is no longer possible.


Bitter rot is difficult to prevent. If rot is suspected, it sometimes helps to briefly dip the apples and pears in warm water (+ 50 °C).