Albino/Mutant/Diseased Zucchini?

lorensayJuly 14, 2012

This started out in another thread about leaves paling a bit and taking on a yellowish tint. But I've fertilized the plant with all purpose fertilizer plus some fish emulsion and it appears to be recovering a bit. But the mutant Zucchini are still showing up. And they're coming with a fervor. I'd say 30-40% of my Zucchinis are now this really *bright* yellow Zucchini. The blossom for this Zucchini appears almost white with hints of red, as opposed to the normal orange and yellow. I was a little freaked out so I've aborted all yellow Zucchini as they approached pollination stage, but I think I'm going to let a few of them grow. I'd be convinced that the plant was sick, but it's still producing normal, seemingly healthy dark green Zucchini. What's going on?

I'm embedding a few photos of the plant and a link to access the rest of the photos. Please check out the whole album and the full-sized photos as it may be kind of difficult to get the full impact of oddness with these small thumbnails. You can see the odd Zucchinis growing along side seemingly healthy ones. I'm really curious/concerned about what's going on. I can't find any information online that would describe this phenomenon.

whole album

Thanks!! Any feedback helps.

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Zucchini Yellow Mosaic Virus (ZYMV). Only cure is to use a resistant variety. Fruits are edible.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2012 at 8:10AM
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Interesting. Thanks farmerdill. That's a bummer.

How did you identify it? I just looked through traditional symptoms if ZYMV and my plant doesn't meet any of those. The foliage doesn't exhibit the mosaic, the growth isn't stunted, and the green Zucchini it produces appear perfectly normal to me. I'm not sure how the plant would have contracted it either. It's been growing for well over 2 1/2 months now and these are the first yellow Zucchini it's producing and I'm in a suburban area, there isn't commercial agriculture within 50 miles of me. Haven't seen an aphid yet. Been looking for them!

Do you have a favorite ZYMV resistant variety that you like to grow?

    Bookmark   July 14, 2012 at 12:16PM
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I cant't see enough of your plant to verify. Basicly I am judgeing by the fact that yellow squash on a green fruited plant is caused by a mosaic virus. Cucumber mosaic (CMV) which I am most familiar with turns yellow squash green, ZYMV puts yellow in green squash. I don't ZYMV yet, so I can't say for sure. I grow mostly middle eastern type zukes as I prefer the flavor and texture.

Here is a link that might be useful: squash diseases

    Bookmark   July 14, 2012 at 2:01PM
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I think I may well give those a go next year! They look delicious and I've become a bit of a squash addict it seems.

I just added a full-view photo of the plant -- my apologies for the apparent dirtiness of the plant, the tree above it sheds at a ridiculous rate. Aside from some leaves with powdery mildew (my own fault for watering from above, duh) and some dried milk marks from attempting to get rid of the powdery mildew (didn't work), I don't see much else wrong with the foliage. No mosaics or mottling what-so-ever. I have been reading a bit since you suggested ZYMV, and it seems that some seeds can be tolerant to severe strains of ZYMV and only show weak symptoms of infection. Perhaps that's it.

In any event, a green female blossomed today, and 2 more will tomorrow, and a yellow female is close to blossoming. I intend on growing all of them out to see if any of them are misshapen and what color they ultimately take. The four that I've harvested thus far were all nicely-shaped and green. I'm still not *totally* convinced it's pathogenic, but the next couple weeks should be telling.

Can you notice anything in the foliage that might be suggestive?

    Bookmark   July 15, 2012 at 12:13PM
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jean001a(Portland OR 7b)

Not virus.

Are you considering the white veining as Powdery mildew? If so, stop treating it as that's normal silvering.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2012 at 1:57PM
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Thanks Jean.

Is this the silvering induced by silver-leaf whiteflies? That seems feasible to me.. I remember several months ago seeing tiny white flies around the Zucchini. I'm also noticing the leaves of my bush beans and tomato plant getting many, many tiny holes in them, as if something's been eating them.

Have you had any success in treating this?

    Bookmark   July 15, 2012 at 2:19PM
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The silver veining is a common feature of zucchini, some varieties show more than others. It is genetic not caused by any disease or insects.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2012 at 8:38PM
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Okay. Great. :) Would this somehow explain the yellow fruit?

    Bookmark   July 16, 2012 at 10:27AM
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It isn't a mosaic virus, it would be if you actually had fully formed fruit that were yellow, but I only see flowers. I see what happened here, you claim to have yellow fruit when in reality you just mean the female flower buds are yellow. None have grown and are yellow have they?

The "yellow" female flowers you posted pics of would not have flowered. It is very common for female flowers to abort before they open and this is why they turn yellow. They were dying, never to flower in the first place. That is all you are seeing

And no there is nothing wrong with that happening. Zucchini cannot support all the female flowers they produce so some just never flower.

All is well be happy for your healthy plants!

    Bookmark   July 16, 2012 at 1:43PM
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Thanks for the info Trev. I hadn't considered that but it's looking like you're right! All the yellow ones have died and only greens remain. A few weeks ago I think I slightly over pruned and since then I've fertilized and there's much more foliage and I'm seeing fewer yellows females emerging. In fact, right now that single plant is growing 4 hefty Zucchini with 2 more females blossoming tomorrow! Yay! As an aside though, should I be allowing all 6 to grow or will that impact the health of the plant and the quality of the fruit?

    Bookmark   July 18, 2012 at 11:25AM
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Zucchini are normally picked when 6 - 8 inches long to optimize yeild. If you like them the size of baseball bats go for it, but understand that letting the fruit grow too large negatively impacts the female blossoms and will cause more to yellow and die. Having even a single large fruit pretty much guarantees that you will have a week or two with no females flowering.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2012 at 11:35AM
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Great information Trev. Thank you!

    Bookmark   July 19, 2012 at 2:53PM
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