Viruses in NYC.............in plants, not people!

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Humans are not the only ones who are at risk from a virus. Plants can also be under attack from virus species that are plant pathogens.

Of course you can't photograph the virus itself, but when a plant is infected, you can see the ways in which the virus changes the appearance of the leaves, or sometimes all parts of the plant. The symptoms can be quite striking, and can make interesting photographs. Mosaic viruses cause mosaic-like patterns on leaves. Some do other things: for example, Cucumber Mosaic Virus, when it is on Nandina, can cause extreme stunting, and make leaves dark red, narrow, and curving downwards.

Some viruses only attack one genus of plants, but some others, including the Cucumber Mosaic Virus, attack a very wide range of plants in different families.

Because many of the viruses have long names, they are usually referred to by their acronyms, so Pagoda Yellow Mosaic Associated Virus is known as PYMAV, and Cucumber Mosaic Virus is CMV.

Here are some plant viruses that I have observed. Please note that @jameskdouch, a virologist in Melbourne Australia, has been very helpful in commenting on and correcting my putative virus identifications.
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Hackberry Mosaic Virus -- on Common Hackberry, Celtis occidentalis
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/31357525

Pokeweed Mosaic Virus -- on American Pokeweed, Phytolacca americana
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/46662447

Cucumber Mosaic Virus -- on Heavenly Bamboo, Nandina domestica
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/46777373

Ribgrass Mosaic Virus -- on Carolina Bluebells, Mertensia virginica
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/46777665

Rose Rosette Emaravirus -- on Multiflora rose, Rosa multiflora
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/46447203

Pagoda Yellow Mosaic Associated Virus -- on Japanese Pagoda Tree, Styphnolobium japonicum
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/46880397

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NOT IDENTIFIED MORE PRECISELY

Rose mosaic virus -- one or more of a group of four unrelated viruses which attack Rosa chinensis
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/46141366

Virus on Erigeron:
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/41071740

Virus on Common Blue Violet, Viola sororia:
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/46778090

Mosaic virus on Kirengeshoma (a garden plant):
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/27344440

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A "GOOD VIRUS"

Badnavirus on Japanese Aucuba, Aucuba japonica -- the effects of this virus are highly prized by horticulturists. The virus is transmitted in the seeds from one generation to the next. I guess we have to consider it to be a cultivated virus.
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/38013503

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TWO VIRUSES PHOTOGRAPHED ELSEWHERE IN NORTH AMERICA

Cucumber Mosaic Virus on Beach Naupaka, Scaevola taccada, in Sanibel, Florida
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/36415969

Begmovirus on Merremia in Nevis West Indies
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/11184816

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Posted by susanhewitt susanhewitt, May 23, 2020 01:55

Observations

Photos / Sounds

What

Rrd Rose rosette emaravirus

Observer

susanhewitt

Date

May 18, 2020 02:01 PM EDT

Description

On Multiflora Rose.

Photos / Sounds

What

Viruses Kingdom Viruses

Observer

susanhewitt

Date

May 18, 2020 02:11 PM EDT

Description

On Common Jewelweed, Impatiens capensis.

Is this Tobacco Mild Green Mosaic Virus? Or is it Impatiens Necrotic Spot Virus?

Photos / Sounds

What

Rrd Rose rosette emaravirus

Observer

susanhewitt

Date

May 18, 2020 02:00 PM EDT

Description

This multiflora rose has a bad case of the RRD virus. As well as the usual symptoms, it also has this remarkable occurrence of "cresting", known more scientifically as "fasciation", where a mutation in cells of the growing tip of the twig has cause the twig to grow into this bizarre large flattened disc shape!

Please also see:

https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/46424942

Photos / Sounds

Observer

susanhewitt

Date

May 20, 2020 03:42 PM EDT

Description

On American Pokeweed.

Photos / Sounds

What

Cmv Cucumber mosaic virus

Observer

susanhewitt

Date

May 21, 2020 12:36 PM EDT

Description

This tiny plant is a Heavenly Bamboo that was put in about three years ago. It has not really grown at all since then.

The plant is very stunted, the new foliage is very dark red, and the leaves are extremely narrow and somewhat downward pointing.

The plant has never flowered or fruited.

Photos / Sounds

What

Cmv Cucumber mosaic virus

Observer

susanhewitt

Date

May 21, 2020 12:36 PM EDT

Description

On Nandina

Photos / Sounds

Observer

susanhewitt

Date

May 21, 2020 12:46 PM EDT

Description

This appears to be a mosaic virus on Mertensia virginica, Virginia Bluebells.

Photos / Sounds

What

Umbravirus

Observer

susanhewitt

Date

May 21, 2020 12:52 PM EDT

Description

On White Snakeroot, Ageratina altissima.

Photos / Sounds

What

Viruses Kingdom Viruses

Observer

susanhewitt

Date

May 21, 2020 12:56 PM EDT

Description

On Viola sororia.

The leaves that are at the top and side of this plant show unusual color patterns that suggest a virus.

Photos / Sounds

What

Pymav Pagoda yellow mosaic associated virus

Observer

susanhewitt

Date

May 22, 2020 12:50 PM EDT

Description

On Japanese Pagoda Tree, Styphnolobium japonicum.

A couple of years ago this tree was cut down all the way, flush with the ground, but it sprouted back up quite vigorously.

Photos / Sounds

Observer

susanhewitt

Date

May 24, 2020 09:47 AM EDT

Photos / Sounds

What

Pymav Pagoda yellow mosaic associated virus

Observer

susanhewitt

Date

May 24, 2020 11:04 AM EDT

Comments

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Susan,

Very informative! I makes me wonder about some of my Autumn Olive shots. For some reason I have to shoot all the weird ones. Here they are:

https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/7791507
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/15904529
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/16976177
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/17611011
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/26471654
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/28391232

The entire plant is never affected like this.

Do you think these are the result of a virus?

Posted by ken-potter 12 days ago (Flag)
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Super interesting stuff, Susan! Really enjoyed this journal entry. :)

Posted by sambiology 12 days ago (Flag)
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Thanks Sam for your kind comment, glad you liked it. :)

Posted by susanhewitt 11 days ago (Flag)
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@ken-potter -- I will attempt to ask plant pathologist virologist @jameskdouch what he thinks of your variegated twigs on Autumn Olive, Elaeagnus umbellata.

I have had almost no botany training at all, but to me, those variegated parts look like bud sport mutations, which I think happen by chance rather than being cause by a virus.

And something that often happens with plants is that horticulturalists select the variegated ones to become "cultivars" because they are more decorative, but then, some time after the pretty variegated bush is planted, it will often start sending out plain green shoots.

The all-green parts, being more vigorous, grow much faster, and if not carefully pruned away, they will take over, leading eventually to a big green bush with a few variegated twigs at the base of the plant. I see that quite often with variegated euonymus in my neighborhood here in NYC.

Posted by susanhewitt 11 days ago (Flag)
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@susanhewitt I’m not a professional plant pathologist, but I am a virologist, and plant viruses happen to be easier to observe than animal viruses. Note that you tagged the wrong Ken Potter.

@ken-potter I am confident your images show genetic variegation, caused by a mutation, that may have been cultivated by horticulturalists or may have occurred in situ. Genetic variegation is commonly associated with pale leaf margins and green centres, whereas viruses tend to cause randomly distributed spots or trace the veins.

Posted by jameskdouch 11 days ago (Flag)
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Thanks so much @jameskdouch -- sorry that I D'ed you as the wrong kind of professional, and thanks so much for giving me so much help with various plant virus IDs. Also thanks for letting me know about my typos on Ken's screen name.

Posted by susanhewitt 11 days ago (Flag)
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That’s ok. I’m happy to help.

Posted by jameskdouch 11 days ago (Flag)
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@jameskdouch @susanhewitt Thank you for all the help! I'll continue to document variegated specimens I encounter. Maybe someday we'll learn something more conclusive on the subject :)

Posted by ken-potter 11 days ago (Flag)
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@ken-potter,

It's already pretty conclusive:

If any of your observations were way out in the wild, where no-one could have planted a bush, then you can say the variegated part of the plant was caused by a mutation (a so-called "bud sport") which occurred naturally without any intervention.

If, however, any of your observations were in places where someone might have planted a decorative bush a while ago, then it is possible that bush was originally all variegated, and then it grew more and more into the wild green kind until all that was left were a few twigs at the bottom and sides.

Posted by susanhewitt 11 days ago (Flag)
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@susanhewitt
I'd like to turn "pretty conclusive" into "conclusive" even if only in my own mind even though I think that might be impossible 😊 The ones documented by me so far are "way out in the wild" (as you define that) with untold numbers of other specimens everywhere throughout the tri-county area that I pretty much stay within 95% of the time. It's a real nuisance around here where you just can't escape it. All you can do is learn how to navigate through these bushes without getting cut up and deal with it, though I do love the berries. It's all over my property in front of the woods, aside my house, behind my house and along the buffer zone out back. My sub was built in a cleared woods with the planners leaving as many of the trees and other flora as they found it. Locals who's families go back to the 1800s tell me it was introduced to feed the deer herd but it, honeysuckle and multiflora rose have really taken over many areas. Thanks for all the info you've sent me on this! Take care!

Posted by ken-potter 11 days ago (Flag)
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So then I would say, congratulations, you can be certain that:

The variegated part of the plant was caused by a mutation (a so-called "bud sport") which occurred naturally without any intervention by humans or by a virus.

Posted by susanhewitt 11 days ago (Flag)
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Thanks Susan! I'll go with that! I've always had a curiosity about things that are odd. And now you have me looking for viruses! 😂

Posted by ken-potter 11 days ago (Flag)
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I would expect that you have Hackberry MosaicVirus where you are, assuming that you have Common Hackberry trees?

The effects of that virus should start showing up soon, during the month of June.

Posted by susanhewitt 11 days ago (Flag)

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