Ft. Pierce ARC Research Report RL-1979-3
Diseases of Centrosema spp.
R. M. Sonoda and J. M. Lenne 1
The leguminous genus Centrosema (DC.) Benth consist oni'V
species indigenous to tropical America (4, 7, 11). Centrosema
pubescens Benth., centro, introduced as a cover crop to southeast
Asia in the 19th century, is widely grown as a forage plant through-
out the tropics and subtropics (4, 11). C. brasilianum (L.) Benth.,
C. plumieri (Pers.) Benth., 'butterfly pea', and C. virginianum (L.)
Benth. are also used to some extent as fodder and forage plants (4,
7). Members of the genus have been tested for forage use at the
Agricultural Research Center, Fort Pierce (ARC-FP) (7). Diseases of
Centrosema spp. observed at the ARC-FP and in South America are
reported here. Diseases of Centrosema spp. in other parts of the
world are also discussed.
1) Rhizoctonia solani Kuhn (Thanetephorus cucumeris (Frank)
Donk) 'foliar blight', 'web blight'. The first symptoms of this
disease are water-soaked spots on leaflets. Affected areas of leaf-
lets and leaves become ash-green, then light brown. The mycelium of
the fungus is visible on the surface of the infected areas in a few
days. The fungus apparently spreads within a plant and between plants
partly by means of aerial mycelium. Sclerotia of the fungus, 0.2 to
0.5 mm in length can be found on dead tissue. The disease is most
severe in dense stands of the host.
Accessions of C. brasilianum, C. plumieri, and C. pubescens were
affected by the disease in field plots at the ARC-FP (12). In the
same planting (12) several accessions of Centrosema spp. were not
affected, but no effort was made to determine if these accessions
were resistant or escapes. Foliar blight was moderately severe on
C. plumieri P. I. 330567, but mild on the other affected accessions
T12). Work is required to determine the effect of web-blight on yield
and quality of Centrosema spp.. Rhizoctonia foliar blight has been
reported on Centrosema spp. in other areas of the world (6).
2) Colletotrichum dematium f. sp. truncata (Schw.) v. Arx and
C. gloeosporioides (Penz.) Sacc. anthracnosee'. Leaf spots incited
by these two species of Colletotrichum were found on mature leaves of
C. pubescens at the ARC-FP (9). The disease has not been severe on
any of the Centrosema spp. accessions at the ARC-FP. Severe leaf
damage of Centrosema hybrid CIAT 438 caused by the two Colletotrichum
spp. was observed in Bolivia. A Colletotrichum sp. was reported on
pods in Alabama (2).
3) Cercospora sp. leaf spot. In a replicated planting of 86
1 Associate Professor, University of Florida, Agricultural Research
Center, Fort Pierce, and post-doctoral fellow, Centro Internacional
de Agriculture Tropical (CIAT), Apartado Aereo 6713, Call, Colombia.
accessions of Centrosema spp., only 11 accessions had Cercospora sp.
leaf spot lesions in the fall of 1974. Accessions 1708, 661, 1427,
983, and 1550 were severely spotted. Cercospora sp. leaf spots are
reported on C. pubescens in Australia (4). Chupp (5) lists Cer.
bradburyae Young" on C. pubescens and C. virginianum Benth.,(Cer.
centrosemae Chupp and Muller on C. virginianum, Cer. clitoriae Atkin-
son on C. virginianum and Cer. cylindrospora on C. pubescens and C.
virginianum. Cercospora spp. leaf spot causes minor damage on
Centrosema spp. in Colombia.
4) Curvularia spp. Leaf lesions incited by Curvularia spp.
were found on 42 of the 86 accessions of Centrosema spp. in the fall
of 1974. The incidence of leaf spotting was very light. Accessions
860, 1089, 1183, 1424, 1425, 1428, 1429, 1434, 1472, and 1520 had
the most lesions. Curvularia spp. were frequently isolated from
leaf spots on Centrosema spp. in Colombia.
5) Fungi reported as pathogens of Centrosema spp. in other
parts of the world include Phyllosticta sp. on C. pubescens (8),
Nematospora spp. on C. plumieri (13), Oidium sp. on C. pubescens
(10), Fomes lignosis on C. pubescens (1), Rossellina bunodes and
Xylaria thwaitesii on C. pubescens (6), Meliola bicornis on C.
pubescens and C. virginianum (2), Phyllachora galactiae on C. vir-
ginianum (2) and Drechslera sp. and Phoma sp. leafspot on Centro-
6) Virus diseases. No symptoms suggestive of virus diseases
have been observed in Centrosema spp. plantings at the ARC-FP or on
other plantings in south Florida observed by the authors. Symptoms
of unidentified virus diseases have been observed on Centrosema spp.
by J. M. Lenne in Colombia. A mosaic of Centrosema spp. is reported
from New Guinea-Papua and Australia (15), an unidentified mosaic on
C. virginianum in Puerto Rico (2), and ground nut rosette has been
transmitted to C. plumieri (14).
7) Nematodes. Roots of C. pascuorum Mart. ex Benth. were
knotted and forage yield reduced in a replicated planting of tropi-
cal forage legumes at the ARCFFP. The nematode associated with the
knotting was identified as Meloidogyne inccgnita (Kofoid and White)
Chitwood. An Australian commercial C. pubec ns was not affected by
the nematode in the replicated experiment. Two accessions of Centro-
sema hybrids, CIAT 438 and CIAT 437 were resistant to M. javanica in
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