Myrothecium diseases in the greenhouse

Picture of the Week | February 20, 2023

Tom Creswell,  PPDL Lab Director

Myrothecium roridum is a fungal pathogen that may cause leaf spots, stem cankers and dieback on a wide range of plants when conditions are favorable in the greenhouse. This disease appears when greenhouse humidity is very high, such as during propagation or when young plants are grown in crowded conditions early in the spring.  Injuries during handling and transplant and high fertilization rates can both increase susceptibility to infection.

Click images to enlarge
Myrothecium dieback Figure 1. Myrothecium dieback on Lindernia anagallidea
Myrothecium dieback Figure 2. Myrothecium dieback on Lindernia anagallidea

Symptoms may include crown rot, leaf damage (shown in Figures 1 and 2 on Lindernia anagallidea), stem dieback (shown in Figures 3 and 4) and/or stem canker (shown in Figures 5 and 6).  We see this fungus most often on young perennials and herbs but it may also attack woody plants such as Euonymus and annuals such as begonia, petunia, verbena and impatiens under the right conditions.


Myrothecium stem dieback/canker Figure 3. Myrothecium stem dieback/canker on Euonymus.
dieback/canker Figure 4. Myrothecium stem dieback/canker on Euonymus.
stem dieback/canker Figure 5. Myrothecium stem dieback/canker on Euonymus.
Myrothecium stem canker Figure 6. Myrothecium stem canker on Monarda.

Infected material should be removed from the greenhouse and benches, tools and pots sanitized to reduce spread. Reduced humidity and increased space between plants can also help reduce spread as can application of appropriate fungicides.

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