This “condition” was first identified in commercial plantings in New Zealand in 1995. The full debilitating effects of the “condition” were apparent in New Zealand during the 1996 season. Senescence of the affected plants occurs well before flower bud emergence and hence crops displaying the “condition” do not yield flower buds.
Having identified and inspected plants showing the “condition” during research visits to New Zealand, it was possible to identify early symptoms in plants in Tasmania during the 1996 season. Unlike the situation in New Zealand, the “condition” was identified in Tasmania before distribution to commercial growers and before any commercial areas had been planted.