First report of Nigrospora sphaerica causing leaf spot of date palm in Pakistan.
Date palm (Phoenix dactylifera) is one of the most cultivated fruit trees around the world. Pakistan is the 6th largest producer of dates. During November 2017, leaf spot symptoms were observed in different date palm orchards. Symptoms included yellow to brown, semicircular to irregular spots (3 mm diameter), which gradually enlarged up to 8 mm diameter and coalesced. Based on morphological characteristics, molecular data (sequence analyses of the internal transcribed spacer region and translation elongation factor 1-α) and pathogenicity tests, the causal agent was identified as Nigrospora sphaerica. The fungus has been reported to cause leaf spot of Kinnow mandarin in Pakistan. This is thought to be the first report of leaf spot caused by N. sphaerica on date palm in Pakistan.