Cacao Diseases pp 483-499 | Cite as

Cherelle Wilt of Cacao: A Physiological Condition

  • Rachel L. MelnickEmail author


Cacao beans are produced in pods (fruits) of the trees of Theobroma cacao L. Cacao pods are produced after pollination of the small cauliflorous flowers covering the branches and trunk of the tree. Despite abundant flowering, only 0.5–5 % of cacao flowers become pollinated. Pollinated flowers then develop into immature pods, commonly known as cherelles. Despite abundant flowers and pod set of trees, few cherelles develop into mature pods. Up to 75 % of cherelles are lost to a thinning condition known as cherelle wilt. Additionally, cherelles can be lost at an early stage to insect, stramenopile, and fungal pests. This chapter will discuss the physiological changes in young fruit that cause cherelle wilt, as well as the physiological changes induced in pods caused by cherelle wilt. Lastly, the chapter will discuss whether there is a clear link between cherelle wilt and frosty pod rot caused by Moniliophthora roreri.


Biological Control Agent Cacao Tree Flower Abscission Cacao Bean Minor Pathogen 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



Work was funded by USDA ARS. References to a company and/or product by the USDA are only for the purposes of information and do not imply approval or recommendation of the product to the exclusion of others that may also be suitable. USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of Global Climate ChangeInstitute of Bioenergy, Climate and Environment, USDA National Institute of Food and AgricultureWashington, DCUSA

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