Sclerotium cepivorum

White fluffy bulbs are a key sign of white rot. Image: Onions Australia

  • White rot affects onions, beans, beetroot, capsicum, carrots, Cucurbitaceae species, sweet potato, potatoes and tomatoes.
  • Damages leaves, especially near the soil line.
  • Look for brown to black rot of the stem near the soil line. Plants may be stunted or there will be yellowing and wilting of the leaves. Eventually the leaves will die, beginning with the oldest leaves. During cool weather there may be white, fluffy growth at the base of the stem plate when the leaves are yellowing. On these mats of fluffy fungus, black spores will form that will be about the size of a poppy seed. This disease usually appears on groups of plants in the field that are widely spaced. However, large groups of plants may die suddenly when the fungus is abundant in the soil and conditions are favourable for disease.
  • Present in all states except Western Australia.
  • Restrictions are in place for produce entering Western Australia.
  • Spread by infected plants/material, soil and water.


Scientific name: Sclerotium cepivorum
EPPRD Category:
Life Form: Fungus

Pest Documents

FS: fact sheet

CP: contingency plan

DP: diagnostic protocol