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Fungus? Help?

Ross Koning koning at ECSUC.CTSTATEU.EDU
Fri Jul 25 08:54:02 EST 1997

At 5:35 PM -0400 7/24/97, winga wrote:

>I don't know what this is or how to treat it.  The plant is just a green
>potted plant I picked up somewhere - I don't know what it is, but it has
>big leaves, tapered at each end, attached to stalks that go right into the
>soil (or split off of other stalks).  *shrug*

Could be any of a number of species.  Maybe an
aroid (eg. Spathiphyllum)

>Anyway, there's this strange thing that seems to be eating it up - it get
>black or "burned" looking on the ends of it's leaves, this spreads, and
>then starts going down the insides of the stalks to the roots.  It hasn't
>gotten to the roots yet - I finally started cutting them off to try and
>save the plant, but it definitely goes from the leaves to the roots, not
>the other way around.  The plant now has only 4 leaves (out of what used
>to be about 30 or 40), and I have hope because it's been sprouting new
>leaves.  However, after a week or so, I've had to cut off the sprouting
>leaves because they get this black crud and start contaminating the rest
>of the plant.

Your idea of a fungus is a possibility.  It could
be viral or bacterial too.  Is this a new plant or
one you have had for a long time?  What are the
growing conditions (water, light, fertilizer, humidity,

>How do I stop this?  I don't want to use chemicals, but I will if I have
>to.  I'd rather keep the plant alive.  It hasn't spread to other plants in
>the vicinity yet.  I'm assuming it's a fungus or something.

For most fungus and bacterial diseases the best
treatment is to get the plant into brighter light,
drier air, and be careful to avoid over-watering.

Surgical removal of affected leaves is a good idea,
but if you don't change the growing conditions to
inhibit spread, you are really just avoiding symptoms.

Brown/black tips extending down toward the middle of
leaves is a common sign of too-dry air in winter
indoor plants...but your description seems to involve
spread down the petioles which is NOT observed with
the dry-air problem.

So get your plant to some better light, more air
movement, lower humidity, and be sure your soil is
not too wet.

Good Luck!  It is hard/impossible to diagnose diseases
via email, but these are my best guesses without
seeing the problem first-hand.


Ross Koning                 | koning at ecsu.ctstateu.edu
Biology Department          | http://koning.ecsu.ctstateu.edu/
Eastern CT State University | phone: 860-465-5327
Willimantic, CT 06226 USA   | fax: 860-465-4479

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