Camellia yellow mottle virus

Camellia yellow mottle virus causes yellow and creamy-white blotches on leaves of camellias. It may also cause discoloured areas within the petals (flower breaking). This virus has little effect on vigour.

Camellia yellow mottle virus

Quick facts

Common name Camellia yellow mottle virus
Plants affected Camellia spp.
Main symptoms Yellow and creamy-white blotches or speckles on leaves
Caused by Virus
Timing All year

What is Camellia yellow mottle virus?

Camellia yellow mottle virus is a virus of camellias. It does not affect any other plants. Newly infected leaves can be expected whenever the camellias are growing from spring until winter.


You may see the following symptoms:

  • Affected leaves develop green and yellow patterns. The discoloured areas are often bright yellow (or occasionally even creamy-white) and contrast strongly with the adjacent dark green tissue. The yellowing may take the form of irregular large blotches or smaller flecks
  • Discoloured areas within the petals (known as flower breaking) have also been reported, but this symptom is much less common

The symptoms are often confined to a small number of branches.  They may persist from year to year, vary from one year to another, or even disappear completely over time.


There is no treatment other than to prune out affected branches. Since the virus usually has little or no effect on vigour or flowering, and poses no risk to plants other than camellias, it is often tolerated.


Plant viruses share many of the characteristics of those that infect animals, though they do not cross infect (plant viruses only infect plants). Viruses are extremely minute and consist of a protein coat and a core of nucleic acid. They have no means of self-dispersal, but rely on various vectors to transmit them from infected to healthy plants. Once viruses penetrate into the plant cells they take over the cells’ nucleic acid and protein synthesis systems and hijack them to produce more virus. They then require another vector to feed on the infected tissue and carry them to a new host.

No vector has yet been identified for Camellia yellow mottle virus.

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