Avocado sunblotch disease

Avocado sunblotch viroid

Avocado sunblotch disease could be a problem for our avocado growers and avocado trade.

About avocado sunblotch

The sunblotch viroid comes from the same places avocados do – Central and South America. It only affects avocados.

Global distribution of avocado sunblotch

World map showing avocado sunblotch distribution

Why this is a problem for New Zealand

Avocado sunblotch disease damages avocado trees and fruit, meaning fewer fruit are produced.

If the disease was found here, international trade in avocado fruit is likely to be affected.

Map of New Zealand showing where avocado sunblotch disease could establish

How it could get here

The disease can’t survive for long outside of the plant, so it can only come into New Zealand in infected plant material or avocado stones.

MPI has strict measures in place to limit the chances of avocado sunblotch making it through the border.

But we need you to be vigilant too. Whenever travelling to New Zealand, always declare any food or fruit in your luggage. If you fail to do so, you could face a $400 fine.

How to identify avocado sunblotch

Typical avocado sunblotch symptoms include:

  • stunted growth and fewer fruit
  • yellow, red, or white discolorations on the skin
  • sunken areas and lesions on fruit
  • small or misshapen fruit
  • red, pink, white, or yellow streaks on the tree bark or twigs
  • deformed leaves with bleached-looking, yellow or white areas.
avocados with a long, sunken light discoloration on surface
Fruit affected by avocado sunblotch viroid.
Image: © 2004 Regents, University of California (educational use)

If you think you've found avocado sunblotch


Note: This information is a summary of this pest's global distribution and potential impacts to New Zealand.

Last reviewed: