Pacific Pests, Pathogens and Weeds - Online edition

Pacific Pests, Pathogens, Weeds & Pesticides

Betel nut disease (067)

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  • Narrow distribution. Only known from Solomon Islands (from Reef Islands). On betel nut. An important disease of unknown cause.
  • Yellow spots, up to 2 cm wide, starting on leaves 6 or 7; long red vertical lines of rot, 1-2 cm wide, on the trunks, narrowing to the growing point, where cavities are filled with gum. Flowers and buds rot. Palms die, mostly before they produce fruit.
  • Molecular tests have shown presence of Coconut cadang-cadang viroid-related nucleic acids, but it is not known if these are the cause of the disease.
  • Cultural and chemical control: none can be suggested until the cause of the disease is known.
Common Name

Betel nut decay. There is no common name; this disease occurs only in Reef Islands, Solomon Islands, and has been recorded only since the 1970s. It has not been reported elsewhere in Solomon Islands, or in other parts of the Pacific.

Scientific Name

None. The cause is unknown.

AUTHORS  Grahame Jackson & Helen Tsatsia

Information from Hanold D, Randles J (Eds.) Report on ACIAR-funded research on viroids and viruses of coconut palm and other tropical monocotyledons 1985-1993. ACIAR Working Paper No. 51 August 1998. Waite Agricultural Research Institute, University of Adelaide, Glen Osmond, South 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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