The name of the disease is derived from the visual symptoms it causes to rice plants. When conditions are favorable, plant tissues become undergo necrosis and heavily infected leaves will appear burnt from a distance.
Rice blast can cause lesions on leaves, leaf collars, nods, stems, panicles and grains. In about 90% of the time, panicles and grains exhibit visual symptoms, while leaf sheets and roots do not show symptoms.
Initially, purple spots are formed on young leaves. With time, the spots become spindle-shaped. Large lesions usually develop a diamond shape with grayish center and brown margin. Infection on the necks can be fatal; it can lead to a condition called neck blast in which the entire panicle might fall over.