Nature 158, 56-56 (13 July 1946) | doi:10.1038/158056a0

A Wilt Disease of the Oil Palm



DURING recent investigations in the Belgian Congo I came across what is apparently a hitherto undescribed wilt disease of the oil palm (Elaeis guineensis). Palms of 4–20 years of age have been seen with characteristic necrotic symptoms in the vascular strands of the trunk and roots. The destruction of well-grown palms has been observed in widely separated areas. The lower leaves of such palms show characteristic flagging and wilting ; they eventually break near the base of the petiole and hang down in a cluster around the trunk. The younger leaves are successively affected until eventually the whole crown is destroyed and the plant dies (Fig. 1). Wilting may proceed quickly even in the wet season. Affected leaves may show some development of yellow colour, but in many wilting palms there is no abnormal leaf coloration.