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Sugarcane white rash (220) Print Fact Sheet

Common Name

Sugarcane white rash, white speck

Scientific Name

Elsinoe sacchari; the asexual state is Sphaceloma sacchari.


Widespread. Asia, North and South America, the Caribbean, Oceania. It is recorded from Federated States of Micronesia, French Polynesia, Guam, and Marshall Isalnds.



Symptoms & Life Cycle

The spots occur on the leaf blades, less frequently on the midribs and sheaths. They are yellowish or purple, oval, 1-4 mm long and up to 1 mm wide (Photo 1). Later, the spots become light brown or whitish-grey with a reddish margin. They may join together and form streaks.

Spread is most likely by wind.


There are no records of the damage done by this disease.

Detection & Inspection

Look for the distinctive small, oval (1-4 mm long) spots on the leaf blades, and the midribs; they are purple at first, later becoming white with red margins, and sometimes joining together.


The disease is of little or no economic importance, so control treatments are unnecessary.

AUTHOR Grahame Jackson
Photo 1 Kohler F, Pellegrin F, Jackson G, McKenzie E (1997) Diseases of cultivated crops in Pacific Island countries. South Pacific Commission. Pirie Printers Pty Limited, Canberra, Australia.

Produced with support from the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research under project PC/2010/090: Strengthening integrated crop management research in the Pacific Islands in support of sustainable intensification of high-value crop production, implemented by the University of Queensland and the Secretariat of the Pacific Community.

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