Cause What looks like a normal genetic variegation is due to the Abutilon mosaic bigeminivirus. These phloem-limited viruses are composed of single-stranded DNA and replicate best in young leaves. A single variegated seedling was imported into England from the West Indies in 1868 and vegetatively propagated as an ornamental cultivar. Although transmission occurs through grafting, it is naturally transmitted by a whitefly (Bemisia tabaci) in Brazil. One of the few cases of a desired plant disease.
Symptoms Bright yellow angular patches on green leaves typically referred to as a mosaic. Occasionally a branch may revert back to normal with only green leaves.
Control None desired.
Reference Wege, C., Gotthardt, R.D., Frischmuth, T. and Jeske, H. 2000. Fulfilling Koch's postulates for Abutilon mosaic virus. Archives of Virology. 145:2217-2225.