late blight

noun Plant Pathology.
a disease of plants, especially potatoes, celery, etc., characterized by spotting, blighting, and withering or decay of the entire plant, caused by any of several fungi, as Phytophthora infestans or Septoria apii.

Origin:
1900–05

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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
late blight   (lāt)  Pronunciation Key 
A disease of potato plants caused by the oomycete organism Phytophthora infestans and characterized by decay of the foliage and tubers. An outbreak of late blight led to widespread famine in Ireland in 1845-1850.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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Encyclopedia Britannica
Encyclopedia

late blight

disease of potato and tomato plants that is caused by the fungus Phytophthora infestans. The disease occurs in humid regions with temperature ranges of between 40 and 80 F (4 and 29 C); hot, dry weather checks its spread. Potato or tomato vines that are infected may rot within two weeks. The Irish potato famines of the mid-19th century were caused by late blight. The disease destroyed more than half of the tomato crop in the eastern United States in 1946, leading to the establishment of a blight-forecasting service in 1947.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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Example sentences
The latest trouble is the explosion of late blight, a plant disease that
  attacks potatoes and tomatoes.
The late blight disease causes serious damage to important crops world-wide
  resulting in significant loss of revenue.
Late blight is a devastating disease on potato and tomato.
Characterize the nature of interaction between late blight resistance and virus
  susceptibility in potato.
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