New Phytoplasma Disease in Cabbage Palms

This disease was first diagnosed in May 2008 in three Manatee County locations (two in Palmetto; one in Parrish).

Diagnosed cabbage palms are in these counties:
Manatee, Hillsborough, Sarasota, Polk, Desoto, and Hardee.

  • Found along roadsides, in pastures, edges of woodlands, established landscapes.
  • Affects all sizes and ages of cabbage palms.
  • Caused by a pathogen called a phytoplasma.
  • The phytoplasma is the same one that causes Texas Phoenix Palm Decline on  several date palm species (P. canariensis, P. sylvestris, P. dactylifera, P. reclinata) and queen palms.  This phytoplasma was first identified on Phoenix spp. in this area in early 2007.
  • This is a pholoem limited disease. It is detected through DNA sequencing of the phytoplasma found in trunk corings.
  • Transmitted by an unknown insect (vector); maybe a species of plant hopper.
  • Vector may be indigenous or new to Florida; unknown at this time.
  • The phytoplasma cannot be transmitted through pruning tools, pruning debris, handling.
  • At this time, the distribution and frequency of this disease is unknown and is being researched.

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