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Pink disease

  • Pink disease stem canker on teak showing sunken lesions (left) and bark swelling and splitting (right)
    Pink disease stem canker on teak showing sunken lesions (left) and bark swelling and splitting (right)
  • Dieback in new foliage (left) and internal decay (right) caused by pink disease cankers on teak branches
    Dieback in new foliage (left) and internal decay (right) caused by pink disease cankers on teak branches

General information

Stem canker symptoms have been recorded in commercial teak and African mahogany plantations in North Queensland. They are caused by Erythricium salmonicolor, the organism responsible for pink disease in many tropical, woody crops. Symptoms include swelling or sunken areas on branches and the main stem, and cracking or splitting bark.

Scientific name

Symptoms have been associated with Erythricium salmonicolor, which causes pink disease in a wide range of tropical crops. Other organisms isolated from infection sites include Fusarium solani.

Description

There are different forms of the fungus in affected trees:

  • Cobweb stage: a layer of vegetative mycelium (wet conditions)
  • Nectar stage: orange sporing structures develop
  • Pink encrustation stage: cankers may be covered in pinkish fruiting structures. Fruiting structures and spores spread in the wind.

The disease becomes important in wet, tropical conditions but serious damage only occurs where the rainfall exceeds 2000 mm per year.

Hosts

Teak (Tectona grandis), African mahogany (Khaya senegalensis), and many tropical, woody crops, including breadfruit, carambola, citrus, custard apple, durian, jackfruit, mango, mangosteen and rambutan.

Damage
  • Branches and main stem: swelling, sunken areas or death as a result of girdling.
  • Bark: splitting and cracking.

The fungus penetrates intact or wounded bark and eventually kills the cambial layer. Ultimately, large diameter branches and entire trees can be killed.

Surveys of teak plantations in North Queensland suggest that there is variation in susceptibility between trees.

References

Last updated 08 December 2011