Ornamental ginger crops are dying off on O‘ahu, but there’s no clear reason why—or rather, no single cause. At least six producers have asked CTAHR experts for help, but no common denominator has yet been found: some four viruses and more than ten other diseases have been discovered. In an interview with Hawaii News Now, Extension agent Jari Sugano noted, “You have multiple viruses. They all have different features, and so each farm may have a different virus at that location, and they may have a different disease in the soil that’s affecting that plant.” John Hu (PEPS) agreed, “In this case, different viruses, different combinations, induce different symptoms.”
Jari and John are co-authors, with PEPS colleagues James Green, Michael Melzer, and Wayne Borth, of a recently published Extension bulletin on diseases of ginger in Hawai‘i, “Viruses in Flowering Ginger.”
The problem has been going on for about five years now, and researchers and producers are asking the Legislature for funding to research causes of the dieback. Find out more about it here.