Pacific Pests, Pathogens and Weeds - Online edition

Pacific Pests, Pathogens, Weeds & Pesticides

Coconut seedling basal stem break (069)

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  • Narrow distribution. East Africa, Solomon Islands. Hosts are coconuts and grasses.
  • In the nursery: older leaves die early, white fungal threads and toadstools grow between leaves and seednut. Root decay. In the field: root decay causes little-leaf but, later, palms recover (Solomon Islands). In East Africa, bole rots and death occurs.
  • Spread by spores; East Africa, root-to-root contact, wounds.
  • Impact uncertain: only one outbreak in Solomon Islands. In East Africa, the situation became confused when a lethal phytoplasma disease was reported from the same area, challenging the fungal nature of the disease.
  • Cultural control: in nursery: weed; spacing (>1m).
  • Chemical control: trim nuts, drench in tridemorph.
Common Name

Coconut seedling basal stem break (Solomon Islands), lethal bole rot (the name given to the disease caused by Marasmiellus cocophilus in Kenya and Tanzania).

Scientific Name

Marasmiellus cocophilus

AUTHORS Helen Tsatsia & Grahame Jackson
Information from Bock KR et al. (1970) Lethal bole rot disease of coconuts in East Africa. Annals of Applied Biology 66: 453-464; and Jackson GVH & Firman ID (1982) Seedborne marasmioid fungi of coconuts. Plant Pathology 31: 187-188; and Kohler F et al. (1997) Diseases of cultivated crops in Pacific Island countries. South Pacific Commission. Pirie Printers Pty Limited, Canberra, Australia; and from Frison EA, et al. (eds.). 1993. FAO/IBPGR Technical Guidelines for the Safe Movement of Coconut Germplasm. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Rome/International Board for Plant Genetic Resources, Rome. (; Dr DN Pegler, Kew Botanic Gardens, UK, is thanked for identifying specimens of Marasmiellus cocophillus from coconuts of Solomon Islands.

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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