Group Title: ARC-A research report - Agricultural Research Center-Apopka ; RH-81-11
Title: Common virus diseases of foliage plants
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 Material Information
Title: Common virus diseases of foliage plants
Series Title: ARC-A research report
Physical Description: 8 leaves : ; 28 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Chase, A. R ( Ann Renee )
Agricultural Research Center (Apopka, Fla.)
Publisher: IFAS, University of Florida, Agricultural Research Center-Apopka
Place of Publication: Apopka Fla
Publication Date: 1981
Subject: Foliage plants -- Diseases and pests -- Florida   ( lcsh )
Virus diseases of plants -- Florida   ( lcsh )
Genre: government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
bibliography   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references (leaf 8).
Statement of Responsibility: A.R. Chase.
General Note: Caption title.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00065946
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: oclc - 70921123

Full Text


The publications in this collection do
not reflect current scientific knowledge
or recommendations. These texts
represent the historic publishing
record of the Institute for Food and
Agricultural Sciences and should be
used only to trace the historic work of
the Institute and its staff. Current IFAS
research may be found on the
Electronic Data Information Source

site maintained by the Florida
Cooperative Extension Service.

Copyright 2005, Board of Trustees, University
of Florida


A. R. Chase i jiUiLjE
IFAS, University of Florida L
Agricultural Research Center Apopka | :
ARC-A Research Report RH-81-11
.F.A.S. Univ of Florida
The least commonly recognized diseases of foliage plat-s-a os.e0cCau.l .

by viruses. With the exception of two or three specific diseases a grower

may never notice the symptoms of a virus disease. In general, virus infec-
tions are introduced through the use of infected stock plants which often do
not show symptoms of the infection. Another avenue of introduction is through

insect transmission, especially by aphids feeding on an infected plant and then

on a healthy plant. In some cases the virus source is not a foliage plant but
a weed growing near the greenhouse. The method of transmission or transfer
from an infected plant to a noninfected plant will be discussed for each of the
viruses included below, since it varies according to the disease.

Viruses are among the smallest infectious agents known. They have very
few of the characteristics of the more complex bacteria and fungi and they rely
totally upon a plant host for growth. Viruses cannot be inactivated in the

same ways that bacteria and fungi are killed. Viruses will not grow on the

culture media used to identify bacteria and fungi and positive identification
depends upon very sophisticated techniques including the use of an electron
microscope. Most diseases caused by viruses can be identified with a degree
of accuracy through characteristic symptoms they incite. One of the most
common symptoms of virus diseases is mosaic or a disturbance in the normal
color pattern of the leaf. Others include distortion of leaves, and ringspots
which appear as either light or dark spots. Probably the most difficult
symptom to recognize is stunting of infected plants since many times the entire
planting is infected. If all of the plants grow more slowly than normal the

grower may determine that the cause is environmental, nutritional, disease

caused by root rotting fungi, or any number of other factors which could lead

to poor plant growth. Even experienced virologists cannot easily identify

a new virus disease if the only symptom is reduced plant growth. Symptoms

are not always expressed and they may grow in virus infected plants for a

large portion of their existence without showing them. This makes accurate

diagnosis and subsequent control measures more difficult.

All of these factors contribute toward making control of virus diseases

more difficult than control of most bacterial and fungal diseases. Control
must first be based upon use of pathogen-free plants especially those

propagated from seed or produced through tissue culture techniques and tested

for freedom from viruses. Once a plant is infected there is nothing which

can be done to.the plant either through manipulation of the environment or

application of chemicals which will cure that plant or even diminish the
effects of the virus on the plant. Any plants which show virus symptoms

should be discarded. Even healthy appearing shoots from infected plants

can carry the virus. Maintain a high level of insect control, especially

of aphids, and keep weeds out of pots, walkways and from under benches.

As in the previous four articles of this series, each virus disease

is discussed and references to additional information are given at the

beginning of the section as numbers following the title. A table is included

at the end of the article listing the virus diseases and their known hosts
according to host as well as the mode of transmission. Since viruses and

the diseases they cause are usually referred to by a single name, there is

only one column for this information.


Bidens' mottle virus (BMV) causes a distortion disease of Fittonia

verschaffeltii argyroneura (silver nerve plant and red nerve plant). This

virus was discovered in plantings of nerve plant showing severe leaf distor-

tion resulting in loss of leaf symmetry. Plants are stunted and appear as

though they have been sprayed with a pesticide and suffered a phytotoxic re-

action. The source of the initial BMV infection can be infected Spanish

needles (Bidens bipinnata) growing near the greenhouse. Control of this

disease is based primarily upon control of the weed and insect populations

to eliminate the chance that an aphid will transmit the virus from an in-

fected Spanish needles to a nerve plant. At this time the golden vein plant
(Xantheranthemum igneum)is the only other foliage plant known to be susceptible

to this virus..

CACTUS VIRUS X and others

There are several viruses which infect cacti including Schlumbergera sp.

(Christmas cactus). The major symptom of virus infection is stunting of

infected plants, although some viruses cause ringspots. If possible obtain

cacti from pathogen-free sources and discard any plants known to be infected.


Commelina mosaic virus (CoMV) infects many species of the Commelinaceae
some of which occur as common weeds in Florida. These plants may conceivably

serve as a source of infection for the closely related Tradescantia and Zebrina

spp. grown commercially. Infected Commelina sp. show a mosaic of light and
dark areas on leaves. Although the virus has not been reported to cause a
disease of a commercially grown foliage plant, symptoms of the disease in

either of the plants mentioned above should be watched for and if found, weeds

harboring the virus should be removed.


Cucumber mosaic virus (CMV) causes a mosaic disease of both Commelina

and Maranta spp. Symptoms in Commelina sp. can be distinguished from those

caused by Commelina mosaic virus and frequently both viruses are present in

the same plant. Cucumber mosaic virus has a very wide host range occurring

in bean, beet, cucumber, pepper and tomato as well as foliage plants other

than maranta. Symptoms in maranta include a bright yellow ringspot or mosaic

pattern on infected leaves. Plants can also show a reduction in growth.

This virus does not always express itself and stock plants without symptoms

can yield CMV infected cuttings. Other foliage plants which may be susceptible

to CMV are aphelandra, calathea, dieffenbachia, peperomia and philodendron.

Control should involve the use of virus-free stock and avoidance of trans-

mission through use of nonsterile cutting tools.

The single most important virus disease of foliage plants in Florida is

dasheen mosaic virus (DMV) which infects aglaonema, caladium, dieffenbachia,

philodendrons and other aroids. Dieffenbachias infected with DMV are not

always symptomatic and detection of the virus in plants without symptoms is

not possible. Symptoms include mosaic, distortion, ringspots and necrosis

of large areas of the leaf depending upon the host. 'Perfection' dieffen-

bachias suffer the greatest losses due to this virus since cutting production

can be reduced as much as 80%. Until recently there was no source of

pathogen-free dieffenbachias but through tissue culture the first step towards

controlling losses due to this disease is now possible. Several species of

philodendron also are susceptible to DMV and show severe mosaic symptoms

of bright yellow and dark green, distortion of new leaves, and stunting. DMV

is transmitted both mechanically and through aphid feeding and care should

be taken to avoid movement of disease from infected plants by either of these

pathways. Use new or sterile cutting instruments when removing cuttings and
always destroy infected plants.


Fig mosaic virus causes a disease of many Ficus spp. including Ficus

carica, the commercially produced fig. A study of the host range of this

virus revealed that several Ficus spp. grown for their foliage also are

susceptible, the most important of these being weeping fig (F. nitida).

Symptoms on this plant include a mosaic and slight reduction in leaf size.

Use pathogen-free plants, remove infected plants and use sterile cutting

instruments to control this virus.

Tobacco mosaic virus (TMV) is the cause of a serious disease of

tobacco but also has been found to infect many other agricultural crops. In

addition, Rhoeo discolor (oyster plant) Columnea and Achimenesalso have been

found to host the virus. Symptoms of the disease of the oyster plant are

severe mosaic and stunting. The mosaic may be severe enough to cause some

leaf distortion as well, and frequently, infected plants will produce many

more side shoots than uninfected plants. This virus is transmitted by

handling infected plants and then handling a healthy plant; thus, sterile

cutting instruments should be used when trimming plants or removing cuttings.

Workers who smoke cigarettes and handle the plants can transmit the disease

to the plants if the tobacco in the cigarette was infected with TMV.

Tradescantia mosaic virus infects both Tradescantia and Zebrina spp.

(wandering jews). The disease is characterized by a severe mosaic and

distortion of infected leaves as well as stunting. This virus is transmitted

by aphids as many viruses are,and control should include a good program for

insect control as well as use of pathogen-free plants.


Virus diseases of foliage plants and their hosts.

Virus disease

Achimenes sp.
Aglaonema spp.
Aphelandra sp.
Caladium sp.
Calathea spp.
Columnea sp.
Commelina spp.

Dieffenbachia spp.

Ficus spp.

Fittonia spp.

Maranta spp.

Peperomia spp.

Philodendron spp.

Rhoeo discolor

Schlumbergera sp.

Tradescantia spp.

Xantheranthemum sp.

Zebrina spp.

Tobacco mosaic virus
Dasheen mosaic virus
Cucumber mosaic virus
Cactus virus X
Dasheen mosaic virus
Cucumber mosaic virus
Tobacco mosaic virus
Commelina mosaic virus
Cucumber mosaic virus

Cucumber mosaic virus
Dasheen mosaic virus

Fig mosaic virus

Bidens' mottle virus

Cucumber mosaic virus

Cucumber mosaic virus

Cucumber mosaic virus
Dasheen mosaic virus

Tobacco mosaic virus

Cactus virus X

Tradescantia mosaic virus

Bidens' mottle virus

Tradescantia mosaic virus

Host plant

Literature Cited

1. Burnett, Harry C. 1960. Species of Ficus susceptible to the fig mosaic
virus. Proc. Fla. State Hort. Soc. 73:316-320.
2. Hearon, S. S. 1979. A ringspot of prayer plant caused by a strain of
cucumber mosaic virus. Plant Disease Reporter 63(1):32-36.
3. Koenig, R. and D. Lesemann. 1973. Tabakmosaikvirus in Achimenes.
Phytopathol. Z. 76:87-89.
4. Lockhart, B. E., Jean Ann Betzold, and F. L. Pfleger. 1981. Character-
ization of a potyvirus causing leaf distortion disease of Tradescantia
and Zebrina species. Phytopathology 71:602-604.
5. Lockhart, B. E. and F. L. Pfleger. 1977. Properties of a strain of
tobacco mosaic virus occurring in Rhoeo discolor in commercial green-
houses. Proc. Amer. Phytopath. Soc. 4:126.
6. Morales, F. J. and F. W. Zettler. 1977. Characterization and electron
microscopy of a potyvirus infecting Commelina diffusa. Phytopathology
7. Thompson, Susan M. and M. K. Corbett. 1970. A mosaic disease of Rhoeo
discolor caused by a strain of tobacco mosaic virus. Phytopathology
8. Wisler, G. C., F. W. Zettler, R. D. Hartman and J. J. McRitchie. 1978.
Dasheen mosaic virus infections of philodendrons in Florida. Proc. Fla.
State Hort. Soc. 91:237-240.
9. Zettler, F. W., M. J. Foxe, R. D. Hartman, J. R. Edwardson and R. G.
Christie. 1970. Filamentous viruses infecting dasheen and other araceous
plants. Phytopathology 60(6):983-987.
10. Zettler, F. W., R. D. Hartman, J. F. Knauss, M. E. Taylor-Knauss and A. R.
Chase. 1980. Evaluation of Dieffenbachia maculata 'Perfection' plants
free of dasheen mosaic virus. Acta Horticulturae 110:259-263.
11. Zettler, F. W., J. A. A. Lima and D. B. Zurawski. 1977. Bidens' mottle
virus infecting Fittonia sp. in Florida. Proc. Amer. Phytopath. Soc.
12. Zurawski, D. B., D. E. Purcifull and J. J. McRitchie. 1980. Bidens'
mottle virus of Fittonia verschaffeltii. Fla. Dept. Agr. and Cons. Serv.,
Plant Path. Circ. No. 215.

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