Pacific Pests, Pathogens and Weeds - Online edition

Pacific Pests, Pathogens, Weeds & Pesticides

Papaya crown rot (172)

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  • Widespread distribution. Southeast Asia, South America, Caribbean, Oceania. On papaya most commonly. An important bacterial disease.
  • Leaves, stems and fruit are infected. Dark spreading smelling rots in the crown kill the growing point, or cankers develop in the trunks that cause the top of the stem to fall off.
  • Spread is in wind and rain, and over long distances on seed. Survival occurs in stem cankers, not in the soil.
  • Cultural control: certified seed, but if uncertain about quality of seed, treat in hot water at 50°C for 20 mins; tolerant varieties; collect trash and burn after harvest.
  • Chemical control: copper.
Common Name

Papaya bacterial crown rot, papaya bacterial decline, papaya bacterial stem canker

Scientific Name

Erwinia papayae

AUTHOR Grahame Jackson
Information (and Photos 1-10) from Threat specific contingency plan: Bacterial crown rot, Erwinia papayae (2011). ( Plant Health Australia; and Fullerton RA et al. (2011) First record of bacterial crown rot of papaya (Carica papaya) caused by an Erwinia papayae-like bacterium in the Kingdom of Tonga. Plant Disease 95: 70; and from Plant Health Australia (undated) Bacterial crown rot. (

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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