SCIENTIFIC NAME: Cocos nucifera
FAMILY: Arecaceae

The Florida Market Bulletin, February 1, 1992, has reported that a DNA-based test for lethal yellowing has been developed by University of Florida Plant Pathologist, Nigel Harrison. It is hoped that this DNA probe, the first-ever test of its kind, will enable scientists to finally control this plague.

Lethal yellowing has decimated not only the graceful Jamaican Tall-type of coconut palm throughout Florida and the Caribbean, but destroyed many other types of palms as well. It will kill a palm in a few months; in 1971, a rooftop view would have revealed Miami's coconut trees stretched out in all directions like a sea of emerald feathers. By 1973, every corner seemed to host a bare pole with a few brown fronds clinging to it. We tried desperately to save ours, devising a makeshift giant hypodermic to inject expensive doses of 'black market' tetracyline into it. To no avail; the heartbreak remains with us today.

Having learned of this exciting development just at press time, we cannot elaborate further at this moment, but plan to report upon it more fully in the very near future.

Donna M. Cannon
Tropical Fruit News Vol.26 No.3

DATE: May 1992

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