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Is it a fungus or is it eggs inside the new leaves?

Posted by Q8_Sarah Kuwait (My Page) on
Mon, Jul 23, 12 at 4:03

I have a rather large (4ft square) umbrella plant. I have had it for nearly 5 months and it has been great. I repotted it after buying it and it is growing at a fair old pace. However, in the last 2 weeks, all of the new leaves (and only the new leaves, the old leaves are completely healthy) are growing with what looks like little brown spots or dimples inside the leaves. The spots are visible from the front and back of the leaf (and seem to be inside the actual leaf) and on some has spread down the stalk of that leaf (again not onto any healthy old leaves). I have tried not watering it, watering it more, misting the leaves, a fungal spray, a vitamin spike and an insect spray. So far none of these things have made a blind bit of difference. The plant is in an air conditioned apartment but is not in a direct breeze, it gets lots of light but no direct sunlight. Any help/advise gratefully received.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Is it a fungus or is it eggs inside the new leaves?

And here is a close up of a 2 day old leaf's back...

RE: Is it a fungus or is it eggs inside the new leaves?

  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a mid-MI (My Page) on
    Mon, Jul 23, 12 at 9:32

Do a search using the words Colletotrichum fungal schefflera and see if the results match the malady. I think you'll find the symptoms a match. Unfortunately, there isn't much hope of curing it. If you're determined to try, I'll recommend a systemic fungicide, but I don't know if it will be available in Kuwait.


RE: Is it a fungus or is it eggs inside the new leaves?

How does a plant get a fungus like that? Is it topical or systemic? Can removing the affected leaves help? Anyone?

Q8, is your plant improving? The rest of it looks so lush and healthy.

RE: Is it a fungus or is it eggs inside the new leaves?

  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a mid-MI (My Page) on
    Fri, Jul 27, 12 at 11:23


Leaf Spot of Schefflera Caused By Colletotrichum

By: Janice Y. Uchida

Associate Professor, Department of Plant Pathology, CTAHR, University of Hawaii


The fungus causing leaf spots and damping-off of Schefflera has been identified as Colletotrichum gloeosporioides. Colletotrichum produces spores (conidia) on diseased plant tissue. Although the growth rate of the pathogen is restricted on mature leaves, many spores are produced on older lesions or leaf rots. Spores form on diseased leaf or stem surfaces and masses of spores can be seen as pink or white areas. Spores are also common on diseased seedlings and spore masses with gray-black flecks appear on the stems of dying seedlings. High humidity retained in the canopy of Schefflera seedlings favors pathogen growth and spore production.
Spores are spread by splashing water from rain or overhead irrigation [misting]. The fungus is also distributed by contact and can be carried on clothing, gloves, tools, insects, slugs, etc. The fungus spreads over longer distances through the transport of diseased plants and seeds.
Moisture is required for disease development. Fungal spores that land on healthy Schefflera plants germinate only with moisture. At least 12 hours of moisture is crucial for spore germination and penetration of the fungus into the leaf. Without sufficient moisture, the spores die within a few days or germinated spores die before host penetration occurs.
In pathogenicity trials, Colletotrichum spores sprayed on large, healthy plants or young seedlings at the cotyledon stage cause leaf spots, rots, deformities, and damping-off. Succulent tissue produced by rapidly growing plants is readily infested. The seed coat and embryo are also attacked by this pathogen.
Compared to the isolates of C. gloeosporioides collected from other hosts (anthurium, papaya, orchids, etc.), those from Schefflera have slightly shorter spores and produce orange colonies with white edges on potato dextrose agar. C. gloeosporioides isolates that are pathogenic to Schefflera cause little or no disease on papaya or anthurium, indicating a degree of host specificity.

Figure 6. Stages of collar rot on Schefflera seedlings caused by Colletotrichum.


Incidence and severity of leaf spots and foliar blights can be reduced by application of protective fungicides such as XXX. Once established, complete eradication of the pathogen is unlikely. Sanitation or removal of all dead and infected plant parts is crucial to disease management. Removal of diseased leaves reduces pathogen population levels, allowing maximum benefits of chemical sprays to be attained. Protection of young tissue from infection decreases leaf deformities and defoliation.
Moisture is required for disease development. Without moisture, few spores are produced, most fail to germinate, and many eventually die. Therefore, controlling moisture controls disease. Good aeration, drip irrigation, or timed water applications can reduce leaf wetness periods and decrease infection levels. Solid, covered greenhouses (clear plastic, glass, or fiberglass) are highly recommended for high rainfall areas. A small fiberglass house to protect seedlings and young plants from excessive rainfall will reduce disease levels on vulnerable plants.
Damping-off of young seedlings must be controlled culturally and cannot be controlled with chemical sprays. Colletotrichum can infest seed surfaces and infect the seed coat or embryo. Blemish-free seeds should be selected, dipped in a freshly prepared 10 percent solution of a household bleach (e.g., Clorox) with a few grains of detergent, and agitated for 1 to 2 minutes before planting. Seeds should be planted and maintained in a fiberglass house in an area without older plants. Since Colletotrichum may persist internally in infected seeds, each crop should be carefully checked for signs of seedling leaf spots or collar rots. Any infected seedlings and those around them should be removed immediately and discarded.
Given the difficulty of controlling the disease in contaminated seedling trays or pots, identification of clean seed sources is important. Growers who maintain stock plantings of mature Schefflera should: (1) apply fungicides to floral racemes to control infection of the seed; (2) harvest fruits/seeds only from the plant and not from the ground; (3) select blemish-free fruits; and (4) wash seeds, remove pulp, dip seeds in Clorox( 3 as previously described, air-dry, and then store. By using clean seeds, the disease can be eliminated.
The fungus survives in dead seedlings and other plant parts. Potting media or soil from diseased plants should not be saved or reused. Nursery employees should not handle diseased plants and then touch clean plants because spores are easily spread via hands and tools. If pots, trays, tags, or other products are reused, they should be washed and surface disinfested in freshly prepared 10 to 20 percent Clorox. Diseased plants and contaminated media should be removed from the nursery site or regularly buried (deep). Trash piles containing diseased plants will generate high inoculum levels of fungal or bacterial pathogens and also increase insect and slug infestations.
Education of all employees is important to the production of high-quality plants. Employees should be taught: (1) the causes and symptoms of diseases; (2) how diseases are spread; and (3) how diseases can be prevented and controlled."


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