Fungus-like pathogen

Fungus-like pathogen

Phytophthora cinnamomi

Common name:

Fungus-like pathogen

Scientific name:

Phytophthora cinnamomi

Alternative common names:


Fungus-like pathogenis a soil-borne water mould, fungus-like organisms, carried in soil and water that cause disease and death to a wide variety of native plant species, fruits, vegetables and garden plants. It also produces an infection which causes a condition in plants called root rot or dieback. The plant pathogen is one of the world’s most invasive species.

Additional Information

Where does this species come from?

South east Asia

What is its invasive status in South Africa?

NEMBA Category 1b

Where in South Africa is it a problem?

Limpopo and Gauteng Provinces.

How does it spread?

It is a water mould which spreads naturally in water or roots. It is spread much faster and further by humans moving contaminated soil or plant material, even small amounts.

Why is it a problem?

When fungus-like pathogen spreads to native plant communities, it kills many susceptible plants, resulting in a permanent decline in the biodiversity and a disruption of ecosystem processes. It can also change the composition of the forest or native plant community by increasing the number of resistant plants and reducing the number of susceptible plant species. It infects a number of native plants, causing damage to forests and removing habitats for small mammals. It is the leading cause of damage to avocado trees, and is commonly known as “root rot” amongst avocado farmers.

What does it look like?

Leaves:– None
Flowers: – None
Fruit/seeds: – None

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