Pest of the Month July 2009 – Cassytha filiformis

  • Hosts: Mainly woody species including native and naturalized coastal hosts such as tree heliotrope, beach naupaka, ohia lehua, noni, and hala. 
  • Habitat:  Primarily coastal areas, all major islands except Kaho’olawe.  Requires full sun. This species is indigenous toHawaii.
  • Effects: Parasitic.  Infections can be fatal to host species.
  • Treatment/prevention: (1)  Remove (prune) infected limbs as early as possible, (2)  Shading (it’s intolerant of shady conditions), (3)  Fire (if allowed), (4)  Avoid planting contaminated seed or using soil that may be contaminated, (5)  Control or destroy unwanted host plants, and (6)  Minimize coastal habitat modifications, such as bulldozing and forestry

Source: Cassytha filiformis, by Dr. Scot C. Nelson, University of Hawai’i at Manoa, College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources, Cooperative Extension Service, Plant Disease PD-42, July 2008.

Cassytha filiformis on ohia. Photo by Dr. Scot Nelson, UH CTAHR