Pacific Pests, Pathogens and Weeds - Online edition

Pacific Pests, Pathogens, Weeds & Pesticides

Cocoa brown root rot (003)

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  • Worldwide distribution. In the tropics. The fungus has a wide host range, attacking native and exotic forest trees, plantation crops, including cocoa (and shade trees), oil palm, rubber, coffee. Attacks breadfruit (Pingelap disease). An important disease.
  • Spores of the fungus infect tree stumps as land is cleared. The fungus travels along the roots to healthy trees, growing up to 1 m on the trunk as a thick brown crust, causing death. Brackets form on the old tree stumps 3-4 years after infection.
  • Cultural control: survey plantations 6-monthly for brackets on stumps, and crusts on trunks; if seen, remove with all roots over 2.5 cm diameter.
  •  Chemical control: none recommended.
Common Name

Brown root rot

Scientific Name

Phellinus noxius

AUTHORS Helen Tsatsia & Grahame Jackson
Information from Phellinus noxius root rot. Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation (Queensland Government. (; and CABI (2013) Phellinus noxius (brown tea root disease). Invasive Species Compendium.(; and from (including Diagram) APSnet Education Center. Brown root rot. The American Phytopathological Society. (

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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