Pacific Pests, Pathogens and Weeds - Online edition

Pacific Pests, Pathogens, Weeds & Pesticides

Coconut embryo rot (070)

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  • Widespread distribution. In South America, north Africa, Oceania. On coconut, banana, taro and weeds, causing minor diseases. It is also reported as a sheath rot disease of maize, and a crown rot of rice, but not in the Pacific. Occasionally important.
  • The fungus also causes taro corm rots and sheath rots on banana and maize. Spores enter the calyx end of seednuts while still attached to the palm, infecting the embryo as it germinates. Later, the fungus grows on the shoot or enters the nut cavity destroying the contents.
  • In the nursery, toadstools form on the germinated and dead seednuts. In Samoa, losses in Malayan Dwarf are about 50%.
  • Cultural control: local tall varieties are tolerant (Samoa and Solomon Islands); those with Malayan Dwarf as female parent are very susceptible (Samoa).
  • Chemical control: none recommended; post-harvest fungicides found to be ineffective.
Common Name

Coconut embryo rot, coconut pre-emergence shoot rot, banana sheath rot, taro corm rot, sheath rot of maize.

Scientific Name

Marasmiellus inoderma (previously known as Marasmiellus semiustus).

AUTHORS Helen Tsatsia & Grahame Jackson
Information from Gerlach WWP (1988) Plant diseases of Western Samoa. Samoan German Crop Protection Project, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ) Gmbh, Germany; and from Kohler F et al. (1997) Diseases of cultivated crops in Pacific Island countries. South Pacific Commission. Pirie Printers Pty Limited, Canberra, Australia; and from (including Photo 10) McKenzie E (2013) Marasmiellus inoderma: PaDIL - (

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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