Taxonomic and Geographic Scope

Symptoms of Diseases and Disorders is a tool to aid the non-expert user in the diagnosis of palm problems, including diseases, physiological disorders, physical injury, and damage caused by hidden or microscopic arthropods, based on visible symptoms. Visible symptoms are often sufficient to diagnose each of these potential problems. In fact, visible symptoms can be invaluable for narrowing in on the root cause of a palm problem. [Click here for a PDF with more information.]

A palm disease is the result of a dynamic, detrimental relationship with a transmissible organism that interferes with the normal processes of the plant's cells or tissue. The organism that incites or causes the disease process within the host is called a pathogen, and may be a bacterium [including Mollicutes (phytoplasmas and spiroplasmas)], protozoan, fungus, nematode, or virus. Palm disorders, including environmental sensitivity, nutritional deficiency, stress, and physical injury, are considered disorders rather than diseases because they are caused by environmental conditions rather than by transmissible pathogens. Some types of insect damage can be mistaken as diseases and/or disorders, particularly when the insect is concealed within the plant, is too small to see with the naked eye, or is no longer associated with the palm.

This tool provides screening and identification support to cultivated palm diseases and disorders known to occur, as of 2010, in the United States (continental U.S. and Hawaii) and Caribbean Islands (Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba, Bahamas, Barbados, Cayman Islands, Cuba, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Haiti, Jamaica, Martinique, Montserrat, Netherlands Antilles, Puerto Rico, Saint Barts, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Martin, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos Islands, and the Virgin Islands). Also included are diseases of immediate concern to cultivated palms in the United States and Caribbean – essentially those species that will likely move to this region in the very near future.

Last updated May 2015

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