Zinc deficiency

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Reduction in leaf size and  leaf yellowing on  Zn-deficient crop (J. O'Sullivan).  


Loss of green pigment between leaf veins on a mature leaf (J. O'Sullivan).

Diagnostic summary

  • What you see on plants

- reduced size and narrow shape of young leaves.


- lateral lobes may be especially reduced, and point more acutely towards leaf tip.


- young leaves may be pale

older leaves may show interveinal chlorosis (a mottled pattern of paler areas in between the leaf veins).

  • May be caused by soil alkalinity (high pH) such as on coral or limestone soils, or after application of lime.

  • Cassava and citrus show symptoms more readily than sweetpotato - they are good indicators if they are grown nearby.

  • Confirm diagnosis by painting the surface of half a leaf with zinc sulfate solution, and symptoms should be reduced in a few days, compared with the other half.

Characteristics and occurrence


Confusion with other symptoms

Diagnostic tests



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