Cookies on Plantwise Knowledge Bank

Like most websites we use cookies. This is to ensure that we give you the best experience possible.

Continuing to use means you agree to our use of cookies. If you would like to, you can learn more about the cookies we use.

Plantwise Knowledge Bank
  • Knowledge Bank home
  • Change location
Plantwise Technical Factsheet

pink disease (Erythricium salmonicolor)

Host plants / species affected
Acacia (wattles)
Acacia auriculiformis (northern black wattle)
Anacardium occidentale (cashew nut)
Annona cherimola (cherimoya)
Artocarpus heterophyllus (jackfruit)
Artocarpus hirsutus (wild jack fruit)
Averrhoa carambola (carambola)
Azadirachta indica (neem tree)
Bombax ceiba (silk cotton tree)
Butea monosperma (flame of the forest)
Cajanus cajan (pigeon pea)
Camellia sinensis (tea)
Casuarina (beefwood)
Casuarina equisetifolia (casuarina)
Cinnamomum verum (cinnamon)
Coffea (coffee)
Cupressus macrocarpa (Monterey cypress)
Cyamopsis tetragonoloba (guar)
Cydonia (quince)
Derris elliptica (Tuba root)
Eriobotrya japonica (loquat)
Erythrina subumbrans (December tree)
Garcinia mangostana (mangosteen)
Grevillea robusta (silky oak)
Hevea brasiliensis (rubber)
Jasminum (jasmine)
Leucaena leucocephala (leucaena)
Litchi chinensis (lichi)
Malus (ornamental species apple)
Mangifera indica (mango)
Nerium oleander (oleander)
Piper nigrum (black pepper)
Podocarpus gracilis
Populus (poplars)
Prunus japonica (Japanese bush cherry tree)
Pyrus (pears)
Quercus (oaks)
Rheedia acuminata
Salix (willows)
Sesbania grandiflora (sesbania)
Stylosanthes gracile
Swietenia (mahogany)
Tamarindus indica (Indian tamarind)
Tectona grandis (teak)
Tephrosia (hoary-pea)
Theobroma cacao (cocoa)
Thevetia peruviana (yellow oleander)
List of symptoms/signs
Leaves  -  abnormal colours
Leaves  -  necrotic areas
Leaves  -  wilting
Stems  -  canker on woody stem
Stems  -  discoloration of bark
Stems  -  gummosis or resinosis
Stems  -  mould growth on lesion
Stems  -  mycelium present

Initial symptoms vary with the host. On Hevea, the initial stages of infection are seen as drops of latex and a silky-white mycelial growth on the surface of brown bark. In Piper, sterile pink/white pustules of around 1 mm diameter appear on the young green stems. In Citrus, the sterile pustules may appear first, sometimes with gummosis. In Theobroma, infection is usually first seen as a sparse white mycelium (web) on the bark surface. The surface mycelium is easily overlooked, particularly where the bark is wet.

The mycelium spreads mainly along the underside of the branch and sterile pink/white mycelial pustules appear through cracks in the bark and through the pores of the swollen lenticels, about 1-8 cm behind the leading edge of the infection. Hyphae penetrate the branch, causing progressive death of distal tissues. Leaves distal to the infection turn light green in the interveinal areas and then scorch brown from the margins. The affected leaves remain attached to the plant for a long time, giving an appearance similar to that of a broken branch.

The characteristic pink/white or pink/orange basidiomatal encrustation develops mostly towards the underside of the branch, although it can develop around the entire circumference of the stem; it can reach 2 m in length. The crust is initially smooth, but cracks and becomes paler as it ages. Conidia are sometimes produced, on orange/red pustules scattered over the bark surface. Long black streaks of coagulated latex or gums appear on infected branches of Hevea or Theobroma, and open wounds develop as the bark cankers and splits.

The fungus rarely causes death of mature trees, but can kill young trees.

Prevention and control

The wide host range of the pathogen makes local exclusion and eradication extremely difficult, as cross-infection can occur. Effective cultural control can be achieved by frequent pruning rounds and burning of infected debris (Hill and Waller, 1988) providing the disease can be recognized in its earliest stages, but this is usually best combined with fungicide treatment. The pink encrustation and conidial pustules of the fungus remain viable for a considerable time after infected branches are detached from the tree.

Information regarding resistant lines of host plants is limited, but some species and varietal differences have been reported in Eucalyptus (Deo et al., 1986; Sharma et al., 1988), with E. globulus, E. grandis and E. tereticornis being highly susceptible in high-rainfall areas, whereas E. torelliana and E. deglupta showed resistance (Seth et al., 1978). There is some evidence of differences in pathogenicity between strains (Luz, 1983b; Sharma et al., 1988).

Fungicides reported to show activity against E. salmonicolor include copper formulations (e.g. Bordeaux mixture, copper oxychloride, copper carbonate) (Ram et al., 1982; Kueh, 1986; Thankamma et al., 1986); tridemorph paints in an ammoniated latex base (Wastie, 1976; Edathil and Jacob, 1983); triadimefon granules (Villarraga, 1987); chlorothalonil paints in a latex/bitumen base (Anon, 1985); and fenpropimorph (in vitro) (Luz and Figueiredo, 1982). Pre- and post-monsoon application direct to trunk and branches with a specially designed spray lance was most efficient (Jacob and Idicula, 1999) in India. Application of a sulphur-lime slurry gave the most economic control in Kalimantan (Chee and Chiu, 1999). Of several fungicides tested for pink disease control of rubber in Vietnam, Validamycin A was the most effective (Duong et al., 1998).


The disease can cause significant losses, ranging from the loss of individual branches to death of the whole tree if the main stem is affected. Young trees (2-8 years old in rubber, 2-6 years old in cocoa) are particularly severely affected (Brown and Friend, 1973; Holliday, 1980). Disease incidences of 80% or more have been reported in Albizia (Eusebio et al., 1979), cocoa (Schneider-Christians et al., 1983) and Eucalyptus (Deo et al., 1986). Indian apple orchards at more than 1900 m above sea level are reported to be completely free from the disease (Verma, 1991). Pink disease is considered one of the main threats to new timber plantations in Indonesia (Hadi et al., 1996).

Related treatment support
Pest Management Decision Guides
Akrofi, A. Y.; CABI, 2016, English language
External factsheets
SOFRI Plant Clinic Factsheets, SOFRI, Vietnamese language
Pestnet Factsheets, Pestnet, English language
Solomon Islands Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Farmer Fact Sheets, Solomon Islands Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock, 2012, English language
PlantVillage disease guide, PlantVillage, English language
CATIE Technical Manuals, Tropical Agricultural Research and Higher Education Center (CATIE), 2009, English language
Zoomed image