Join the RHS today and support our charity
Free personalised gardening advice
RHS members get reduced ticket prices
RHS members get free access to RHS Gardens
Reduced prices on RHS Garden courses and workshops
020 3176 5800
Mon – Fri | 9am – 5pm
Make a donation
I have forgotten my password
Keep me signed in
Register for free to receive our newsletters, add comments to blogs/articles and to save content.
See what events are on near you and browse your bookmarked pages.
Don’t miss out. Book in advance and save.
Cucumber mosaic virus (CMV) is one of the most common plant viruses, causing yellow mottling, distorted leaves and stunted growth in a wide range of garden plants, not just cucumbers.
Cucumber mosaic virus (CMV) is one of the most common plant viruses and causes a wide range of symptoms, especially yellow mottling, distortion and stunting. Expect damage whenever susceptible plants are growing well in spring and summer.
Apart from cucumbers and other cucurbits, it also attacks spinach, lettuce and celery and many flowers, especially lilies, delphiniums, primulas and daphnes.
For more on how this virus is transmitted, see the Biology section below.
You may see the following symptoms:
There are no chemical controls available to control virues. The use of insecticides to reduce aphid transmission is not practical.
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.
CMV is vectored by several aphid species which feed on a broad range of plants and this contributes to the very wide host range of this virus.
The ‘cucumber’ in its name only reflects the fact that cucumber happened to be the plant from which it was first described. In fact its host range is extremely wide among vegetables, flowers and some weeds, though fruit crops are rarely attacked. In some weeds the virus produces no symptoms, but these weeds can still act as a source of infection.
CMV is occasionally transmitted through seed in around 20 plant species.
AphidsCamellia yellow mottle virusCanna virusesDaffodil virusesDisposing of diseased materialImpatiens necrotic spot virus and tomato spotted wilt virusPelargonium virusesPlant virusesRaspberry virusesStrawberry virusesSweet pea virusesTomato virusesTulip viruses
the RHS today and get 12 months for the price of 9
RHS members can get exclusive individual advice from the RHS Gardening Advice team.
Register for the site or sign in to share your experiences on this topic and seek advice from our community of gardeners.
We're a UK charity established to share the best in gardening. We want to enrich everyone's life through plants, and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place.
Join the RHS today and get 12 months for the price of 9