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Solanaceous, Tobacco Mosaic Virus

TMV infected tomato fruit. Photo: R. L. Wick
Foliar symptoms of TMV in tomato. Photo: R. L. Wick

Tobacco Mosaic Virus (TMV) has a very wide host range including tobacco, vegetables (especially in the Solanaceous family), and many ornamental species. The virus is sap-transmissable and is one of the most persistent and infectious plant viruses  described.


The most characteristics symptoms are mottled areas of light and dark green on the foliage (mosaic). Plants infected at an early age are often stunted and chlorotic. Growth may be malformed with leaves reduced in size and curled. Symptoms vary greatly in intensity and expression with viral strain, host plant, and environmental conditions. Fruit may show uneven ripening or be reduced in size and number. Yellow rings may occur.

Life Cycle:

Infected seed and crop debris are virus sources.  Unlike many plant viruses, TMV is not vectored by aphids, thrips, or leafhoppers; TMV spreads very efficiently in plant sap. This virus is transmitted by tools and workers as well as plant to plant contact where there are wounds caused by handling or insects. TMV can also persist in tobacco products.

Cultural Controls & Prevention:

There is no cure or treatment for TMV.

  • Discard infected plants and thoroughly disinfest growing areas.
  • Avoid growing vegetable transplants and ornamental crops in the same greenhouse.
  • Workers should wash their hands after using tobacco products.

Chemical Controls & Pesticides:

For Current information on disease recommendations ins specific crops including information on chemical control & pesticide management, please visit the New England Vegetable Management Guide website.

Crops that are affected by this disease:


Last Updated: 
January 2013

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