Worldwide distribution. On beans, capsicum, cocoa, cucurbits, Caribbean pine. Minor fungal disease.
Watery rot at ground level, spreading up the stem and into roots, causing wilts. On older plants, spots have ash-grey centres with dark margins. Black spots on seedling may girdle stems.
Forms 'sclerotia' - balls of the fungus with black protective skin - giving stems sooty or charcoal look.
Spread with movement of soil or plant debris containing sclerotia, and by seed. Sclerotia live up to 3 years.
Cultural control: site nursery far from production areas; use pasteurised soil or soilless mixes; nursery hygiene; check seedlings for spots; in field, sterilise soil under tarps (30 days); 3-year rotation (maize, sorghum); avoid planting next to diseased beans; ensure rapid plant growth ( good tillage, nutrition, weed); collect and destroy trash after harvest.