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Fusarium Leaf Spot of Dracaenas-Resistance c.
of Species and Cultivars \ j
A. R. Chase' :,.,t,r OF\0oda
CFREC-Apopka Research Report RH-93-10
Sixteen species and cultivars of dracaenas as well as seven other ornamentals were
evaluated for susceptibility to F. moniliforme, the cause of Fusarium leaf spot. The most
susceptible plants were D. marginata, D. marginata 'Magenta', D. reflexa 'Song of Jamaica'
(Pleomele reflexa), and bird's nest Sansevieria. D. marginata 'Colorama' was moderately
susceptible to the pathogen while two other cultivars ('Bicolor' and 'Tricolor') were very slightly
susceptible. Other Dracaena spp. were either resistant or very slightly susceptible. Aloe
barbadensis (A. vera), Beaucarnea recurvata, Chlorophytum comosum, Ophiopogon sp. and
Yucca elephantipes were resistant.
Fusarium leaf spot of dracaenas was first described in 1940 on Sansevieria spp. Since
that time, it has been found on many species of Dracaena. The pathogen is F. moniliforme and
it causes leaf spots in the terminals of D. marginata. Spots are initially water-soaked and form
on immature leaves when they are kept wet. These symptoms are most common on the young
leaves of dracaenas and sansevierias. As the spots enlarge, they turn reddish-brown or tan and
frequently have a yellow margin. Individual spots can be pinpoint size or as large as 1/2 inch
depending upon the host plant involved. In cases of severe infection, the bud becomes infected
This disease has been found on many dracaenas but the relative susceptibility of different
species and/or cultivars has not been known. This information is critical to selection of the most
resistant plants when Fusarium leaf spot is a problem. The following report summarizes two
experiments performed to evaluate resistance of selected Dracaena species and cultivars to
'Professor of Plant Pathology, Central Florida Research and Education Center-Apopka, 2807 Binion Road, Apopka, FL
The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences is an Equal Employment Opportunity Affirmative Action Employer authorized to provide research, educational
information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function without regard to race, color, sex, age, handicap or national origin.
COOPERATIVE EXTENSION WORK IN AGRICULTURE, HOME ECONOMICS, STATE OF FLORIDA, IFAS, UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA,
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, AND BOARDS OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS COOPERATING.
q Central Florida Research
FLORIDA and Education Center
Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Research Report
Materials and Methods
Two tests were performed in the spring of 1993. Ten plants of each of those listed in
Tables 1 and 2 were used in each test. All plants were inoculated by spraying with a spore
suspension of the pathogen and then monitored for symptom development for about 4 weeks.
Plants were grown in a glasshouse on a raised bench. Light levels were about 3000 ft-c with
temperatures ranging from 65F to 90F. Final data included the number of leaf spots as well
as the type of symptom found on each plant. Some plants developed symptoms which could not
readily be attributed to F. moniliforme. The cause of all symptoms was confirmed by isolating
The most susceptible dracaenas were D. marginata and a cultivar, D. marginata
'Magenta'. The next most susceptible dracaena was D. reflexa 'Song of Jamaica' (Table 1).
The cultivars of D. deremensis were either resistant or slightly susceptible and developed tiny
yellowish spots. Dracaena fragrans 'Massangeana' was also slightly susceptible, while the
cultivars of D. sanderana were resistant. Cultivars of D. surculosa were slightly susceptible but
developed unusual symptoms characterized by large tan papery spots which formed where the
leaf joined the stem (Table 1). The remaining ornamentals examined were resistant to
inoculation with F. moniliforme except Sansevieria trifasciata 'Hahnii' (bird's nest sansevieria)
which was moderately susceptible (Table 2).
Perhaps the most interesting finding of this study is that the D. marginata cultivars tested
showed such a range of susceptibility to the pathogen. Both 'Bicolor' and 'Tricolor' were some
of the most resistant plants tested while the standard D. marginata and 'Magenta' were the most
susceptible plants tested. This information could be useful when selecting new cultivars of this
species. In addition, it is advisable to avoid use of either D. marginata (standard) or 'Magenta'
if Fusarium leaf spot is a longstanding problem in your nursery. Finally, watch D. reflexa and
Sansevieria when they are grown near other susceptible dracaenas since they are very susceptible
to Fusarium leaf spot and can act as a source of infection.
Chase, A. R. 1981. Update Fusarium leaf spot of dracaenas and sansevierias. Foliage Digest
Jones, L. K. 1940. Fusarium leaf spot of Sansevieria. Phytopathology 30:527-530.
Wehlburg, C., and A. P. Martinez. 1967. Leaf spot of Dracaena marginata Lam. caused by
Fusarium moniliforme Sheld. Proc. Fla. Sate Hort. Soc. 80:454-456.
Resistance of selected Dracaena species and cultivars to Fusarium moniliforme,
the cause of Fusarium leaf spot.
and cultivar Resistant or susceptible Symptom type
deremensis 'Compacta' resistant none
deremensis 'Janet Craig' very slightly susceptible clear, yellow speckles on
deremensis 'Warneckii' very slightly susceptible clear, yellow speckles on
deremensis 'Lemon Lime' resistant none
fragrans 'Massangeana' very slightly susceptible small yellow spots on leaf
marginata very highly susceptible large yellow and brown
spots in whorl that can
blend to rot center
marginata 'Bicolor' very slightly susceptible small yellow spots in whorl
marginata 'Colorama' moderately susceptible small yellow spots in whorl
marginata 'Magenta' very highly susceptible large brown spots in whorl
that can blend to rot center
marginata 'Tricolor slightly susceptible small yellow spots in whorl
reflexa 'Song of Jamaica'
'7. t i _
large tan to reddish brown
spots in whorl and on leaf
sanuerana orinnquensis resistant none
sanderana 'Gold' resistant none
surculosa very slightly susceptible large tan papery spots form
where leaf joins stem
surculosa 'Florida Beauty' very slightly susceptible large tan papery spots form
where leaf joins stem
surculosa 'Juanita' very slightly susceptible large tan papery spots form
where leaf joins stem
Resistance of selected ornamentals to Fusarium moniliforme, the cause of
Fusarium leaf spot of Dracaenas
(common name) Resistant or susceptible Symptom type
Aloe barbadensis resistant none
Beaucaria recurvata resistant none
Chlorophytum resistant none
Hawarthia fasciata resistant none
Ophiopogon sp. resistant none
Sansevieria trifasciata moderately susceptible reddish sunken spots in
'Hahnii' Bird's nest whorl or on leaf edges
Yucca elephantipes resistant none