Does This Look Infected to You?

joanie_pomseed(8)June 17, 2009

Those of you who have read my other posts probably think I'm some kind of hypochondriac, but this subject is benign (I think). I thought this plant with variegated leaves was a chimera, but now I think it looks more like it has a virus. What do you think?

(The tiny white spots are reflective dust.)

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cody_mi(z5 MI)

kinda looks like mosaic virus to me, but i've been wrong before

    Bookmark   June 17, 2009 at 10:20PM
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brandon7 TN_zone(7)

What species of plant are the leaves from?

    Bookmark   June 18, 2009 at 11:57AM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Looks like leaflets from a variegated Schefflera arboricola.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2009 at 2:30PM
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brandon7 TN_zone(7)

If it is a variegated Schefflera arboricola (and I agree, it probably is), the variegation is due to a chimera. Variegation caused by a virus is generally not distinctively two-toned (like the variegation shown in the picture above) and are usually more splotchy (shapes of affected area are different).

    Bookmark   June 18, 2009 at 4:48PM
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Thank you! And you're both right: it is an umbrella plant (S. arboricola). I'm glad it's not infected so I don't have to worry about spreading a virus, and I've always found chimerism fascinating, especially in cases like this.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2009 at 8:23PM
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Wouldn't it be easy to test for a virus by trying to spread the suspected infection to an unvariegated plant of the same species and seeing whether it develops variegation? I.e, mash up some variegated leaves and apply to a wound on the unvariegated plant?

Apparently, there are cases of human chimeras composed of cells from nonidentical twins.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2009 at 11:37AM
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brandon7 TN_zone(7)

If it wasn't fairly easy to determine if a virus was causing variegation by simple observation and a small amount of research, the method of checking to see if the virus would spread might be a useful tool. Proper scientific research methods would need to be followed.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2009 at 2:54PM
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