Witches' broom

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Scientific name: Sweetpotato little leaf phytoplasma


Acronym: SPLL phytoplasma

Other names: Ishuku-byo; witches' broom


Shortened internodes and compressed growth habit are typical symptoms of witches' broom (S. Fuentes & L. Salazar).


Proliferation of shoots and reduced leaf size in infected plant. (F. Zettler, APS).

Diagnostic summary

  • What you see on plants

- initially there is vein clearing then development of new leaves that are distinctly smaller and chlorotic.


 - leaves have a rounded shape, often curling at the leaf margins.


growth habit tends to be more erect than in healthy plants, internodes are shortened and there is proliferation of axillary shoots which, together with greatly reduced root system, result in weak plants with compressed or bushy appearance.


- number and quality of storage roots are reduced.


- reduced production of latex in vines and roots.

  • Widespread in Asia, South-East Asia, Australia and the western Pacific.

  • Transmitted by the leafhopper Orosius lotophagorum ryukyuensis and Nesophrosyne ryukyuensis.


Economic importance

Geographical distribution



Biology and ecology

Host range



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