Black sigatoka

Caused by Pseudocercospora fijiensis

black sigatoka image

What to look for

Narrow, rusty, reddish-brown streaks on the undersides of banana leaves and smaller corresponding streaks on the upper surface.

What you can do

  • Do not move plants, plant material, fruit (particularly bananas) or soil out of the Torres Strait Protected Zone to the Torres Strait Permanent Biosecurity Monitoring Zone, or from either zone to mainland Australia without a permit and an inspection by a Department of Agriculture and Water Resources biosecurity officer. ​
  • Report any signs of suspect banana plant diseases to the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources by phone on +61 7 4241 7800 or email NAQS.


Black sigatoka is a devastating banana disease found in most banana producing countries, including our nearest northern neighbours. It is a fungal disease that destroys banana leaves, reducing the number and size of fruit. It is very severe on Cavendish bananas, ladyfingers and several other dessert bananas. Over the years, a number of small outbreaks on Cape York Peninsula and one large outbreak in north Queensland’s main commercial growing area have been successfully eradicated thanks to early detection.


First symptoms are narrow, rusty, reddish-brown streaks on the underside of leaves, plus corresponding smaller streaks on the upper surface. These become dark brown or black spots on both surfaces and develop yellow margins and grey centres. Leaf symptoms look like those of yellow sigatoka which is a common, related, but much less damaging disease in Australia’s production areas. The most important difference is that more and younger leaves are killed off by black sigatoka.

Image of leaves affected with Black Sigatoka
The disease destroys banana leaves


The disease is widespread in countries to Australia’s north and is found on several outer Torres Strait islands. Strict biosecurity control prevents movement of banana plants and fruit from this area.


Black sigatoka greatly raises the cost of banana production and requires significant chemical control.

Image of leaves affected with Black Sigatoka
Lesions on upper surface of leaves

Keep a Top Watch!

If you’re travelling south from Torres Strait or the Northern Peninsula Area never carry leaves, suckers or any part of a banana plant. Banana imports to Australia are strictly controlled and importing leaves is prohibited. Watch out for foreign boats that may be carrying bananas or banana plants. If you think your banana plants may be infected, contact the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources immediately. If you live in Torres Strait or Cape York Peninsula, Queensland’s Department of Agriculture and Fisheries can supply you with sigatoka-resistant banana plants.

Report black streaks surrounded by a yellow halo on banana leaves. Look for early leaf collapse.

Last reviewed: 4 November 2019
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