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Have you seen Banana Bunchy Top Virus?
Hawaii Early Detection Pest for Kauai, Oahu, Molokai, Lanai, and Maui


Rubus ellipticus stem detail
Dark green stripes on leaf stem is an early symptom
Rubus ellipticus flower
Young plants showing signs of banana bunchy top virus

Stunted and deformed fruit

Identification: This virus is spread through the movement of infected plants. There is no cure. Early symptoms include "morse code" dark green streaking on the leaf stem, signs of the banana aphid (Pentalonia nigronervosa) which transmits this virus. As the disease develops, flowers will display mottled and streaked coloration, dark green streaks with "J hook" external link shape near the midrib, and new leaves will grow in bunched and upright, with yellow wavy margins. There is no cure for this virus.
Dispersal Mechanism: BBTV is spread by banana aphids which feed on infected plants later transporting the virus to healthy banana plants. It is also spread by the movement of infected plants.
Origin and Distribution: Banana bunchy top virus was first introduced to Hawai‘i in 1989. It was first seen on O‘ahu, then the disease made its way to the Big Island followed by Kaua‘i. In 2002, BBTV was first detected on Maui in Pukalani. Since then, it has been found in Pukalani, Makawao, Kula, Kahului, Lahaina and Kihei.

More information about this pest external link


Banana Bunchy Top look-alikes:


Cucumber Mosaic Cucumovirus (CMV):
The cucumber mosaic cucumovirus is also spread by the banana aphid, though it does not spread as rapidly as BBTV, nor does it cause significant damage to banana fruit. Symptoms include flower mottling and streaking. CMV does not cause the "morse code" pattern on the leaf stem found in banana plants infected with the bunchy top virus.

Cucumber mosaic virus symptoms
Mottling and streaking of banana leaves and flowers due to cucumber mosaic virus

Nutrient Deficiencies:
Severe deficiencies of nutrients like calcium and boron can cause yellowing and deformed growth of banana leaves.

Nutrient deficiency in banana
Nutrient deficiency

Last Updated: Monday January 30 2012. If you have any questions about the Hawaii Early Detection Network contact reportapest-maui@lists.hawaii.edu.
Funding and support for this project was made possible by the Hawai'i Invasive Species Council, the USDA Forest Service State and Private Forestry assistance, and University of Hawai'i-Pacific Cooperative Studies Unit.