EPPO Global Database

EPPO Reporting Service no. 10 - 1996 Num. article: 1996/200

Occurrence of palm lethal yellowing phytoplasma in Honduras

In Honduras, coconut palms (Cocos nucifera) in the vicinity of Gibson Point and Flower's Bay on the island of Roatán, have shown symptoms of palm lethal yellowing disease since mid-1994. Affected palms showed premature nut-fall followed by necrosis of immature inflorescence, progressive yellowing of fronds and eventual death of the tree. A visual survey carried out in December 1995, in the affected area on 440 coconut trees, showed that 92 % of the susceptible Atlantic Tall population had apparently died from the disease, or were presenting symptoms. Samples were taken from three symptomatic Atlantic Tall coconut trees and were tested for the DNA of the palm lethal yellowing phytoplasma by PCR. All samples gave positive results. This report confirms earlier records of palm lethal yellowing phytoplasma (EPPO A1 quarantine pest) in Honduras. The authors pointed out that the disease has moved approximately 800 km along the Caribbean coast of Central America since it was first reported in northern Yucatán Peninsula (Mexico) in 1982. They stressed that the movement of palm lethal yellowing into Belize in 1992, and now into Honduras, suggests that the disease may quickly disseminate throughout the rest of the region and therefore presents a serious threat to the coconut production and rich palm flora.


Ashburner, G.R.; Córdova, I.I.; Oropeza, C.M.; Illingworth, R.; Harrison, N.A. (1996) First report of coconut lethal yellowing disease in Honduras.
Plant Disease, 80(8), p 960.