Teak rust (Olivea tectonae) is spreading in America
Recently, Ing. Esquivel Rios from Panama attracted the EPPO Secretariat’s attention to the spread of teak rust in South and Central America. Teak (Tectona grandis) produces valuable timber and is increasingly used for reforestation. For example, it is estimated that in Central America approximately 76000 ha are planted with this species. Teak rust, caused by Olivea tectonae, attacks leaves, giving a grey-flecked appearance on the upper surface and producing masses of orange uredosori on the underside. Nursery plants and young plantations are most susceptible and may suffer severe growth reduction (up to 30 % reduction) and premature defoliation. Disease is favoured by hot, relatively dry conditions and high plant density. O. tectonae is disseminated by airborne urediospores. Movements of infected plants for planting are also likely to contribute to disease spread. Until recently, O. tectonae was only known to occur in Asia (Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Myanmar, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand). In Africa, O. tectonae is of phytosanitary concern.
In Panamá in November 2003, symptoms of teak rust were observed on a large number of plants in a plantation near Río Hato, in the province of Coclé. The pathogen was later identified as O. tectonae. This was the first record of teak rust in the Americas. Further surveys done in Costa Rica also confirmed the presence of teak rust in this country. In Ecuador, teak rust was first noticed at the end of September 2004, in nurseries and young experimental plantations in the province of Los Ríos. Finally, in Mexico in December 2004, the presence of O. tectonae was detected in nursery plants and teak trees of various ages in the municipality of Las Choapas, Veracruz. Surveys are being done to delimit the extent of the outbreak. Considering the fact that teaks are widely planted in South and Central America and that climatic conditions are apparently suitable, O. tectonae is considered as a serious threat to the wood industry.
Personal communication with Ing. Esquivel Rios, 2005-10.
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