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is mosaic virus carried in all fig trees?

Until now, I have been confused about mosaic virus. I thought that only a minority of fig trees were infected with mosaic virus, but reading the book 'Figues' (unfortunately only published in french), written by Pierre Baud (the owner of the main fig nursery in Europe 'Baud nursery'), I have realized that this is a misunderstanding.

According to this author, all the fig trees are carriers of the mosaic virus, except young trees born from seeds. Sooner or later, all the figs are infected with this virus, particularly known varieties because many of them were created several hundred years ago.

But the good news are that (always in accordance with this author) it is considered a minor disease, it doesn't affect the growing nor fruiting, and only is visible -like darker points in the leafs- in stressing situations as such deficit of water or bad managed potted plants, disappearing in normal situations.

Some varieties are proner than others to show the symptoms.


Here is a link that might be useful:

Comments (22)

  • herman2_gw

    Some of the varieties as Black Ischia and Adriatic not only show it more but refuse to grow regardless of the very good care they get.
    On the other hand these are some of the best tasting fig tree being very sought after by gardeners.
    I imagine there frustation when payng a good price to a nursery and getting a sick tree ,wich for a new young gardener is very dificult to cope with.
    He doesn't know yet about this deasese and think is his fault why the tree is seak.Also he doesn't know that later once the tree establish itself the deasese will go away.
    I also started believing that all the figs got this but yhey show it more or less.A few years ago i believed that my trees do not have it but now i changed my mind.Some of the old trees i have do not show it but now i think it is there anyway.Regards

  • axier - Z10, Basque Country (Spain)

    ..."Some of the old trees i have do not show it but now i think it is there anyway"...
    In my opinion this is the key, the virus is there, but in some varieties or, maybe, well suited "happy" trees, never or hardly show the symptoms. But, like you say, the "bug" is there anyway...


  • herman2_gw

    axier : There is a comon fig in my colection(ALMA) that is imune and do not show any simptomes of Mosaic virus.So i am wrong again regarding the above statement.
    It looks like any comon fig that is a result of Ficus Carica x Ficus Palmata cross are imune to Fig Mosaic.
    Alma has 25% Palmata and was enginered by University of Texas USA,and was relised to public in 1974.

  • Scott F Smith

    I had thought that not all trees were infected. I recall someone mentioning here that they thought the trees Paradise Nursery sells in particular did not have mosaic - ??


  • pitangadiego

    Not all trees have FMV. Some of the nurseries do have virus free stock. That is one question: is it possible to obtain a virus free tree. The second question is whether all figs trees are capable of getting FMV. I am not sure that that can be answered. Certainly no tests have actually be conducted. Of the 100+ varieties that I have in the ground, all have been exposed, and most, though probably not all show some signs of it, and seem to have no ill affects. Many varieties seem to show it only early in the season, in the first few leaves, but my Black Mission shows it in every leaf, and still has an abundance of figs that any fig lover would die for. Many of the cuttings I receive show it from the very first leaf, when they are being rooted, but I don't really know if they were already infected, or if it is transmitted that easily and that quickly.

  • bikkand_hotmail_com

    Its been 3 months since I got my fig plant from the nursery and the plant has developed a curling of leaves and now I observe a yellowish mottling and deformed leaves in addition to the curl.
    What do I do? When I bought the plant from the nursery, it did not have any leaves on it and now since the spring has started, leaves have started to grow and I notice it is a diseased plant. Supposing it is a fig mosaic disease, is there any practical cure? Will it affect the growth of the plant and the yield and quality of the fruit? Should I exchange for another plant at the nursery?
    Please help.

  • gorgi

    'is mosaic virus carried in all fig trees'
    is rather an old post and this subject has been discussed
    on many other threads.

    I'll love to have all my figs FMV free, but have learned
    to live with it. It affects figs under severe stress, and
    I came to think about it same as the 'cold lip sore'
    that affects most humans (aka. with flu).

    A classical example: Took me 5-6 tries to (maybe?) root
    an original FMV infected Adriatic fig. I can see the
    young leaves deformed with the classic FMV shapes, which
    I guess did not help the 'figlet' get itself established.
    Now looking at the ~2 year old leaf-breaking mama tree,
    it's leaves look OK! Maybe it just got rid of it's stress
    and the rest of the bad stuff... who knows?

    George (NJ).

  • bjs496

    Here are some observations I made in my trees before I left Houston this afternoon:

    -Adriatic shows no sign of misshapen leaves.
    -Black Ischia shows some mottling, but no misshapen leaves.
    -Violette de Bordeaux shows the most misshapen leaves of any variety I have. None (no exaggeration) of the leaves resembles fig leaves. I'll try to get pics next time I am home.

    I also have a tree grown from a cutting found in the rubble of a building in Istanbul. It has three main branches off the trunk. One branch has mottled leaves a few deformed leaves. The other two show absolutely no signs of FMV. Interestingly enough, the branch that shows signs of FMV is also the slowest growing branch on the tree.

    Given that my experience with BI and Adriatic are so different than Herman's, I'm wondering if the effects of FMV on a particular variety are more pronounced in certain environments. George once posted a guide to fig varieties for different regions. Brown Turkey is listed for all zones... Does anyone have a BT that shows signs of FMV? Perhaps we could test this theory by comparing trees grown from UCD cuttings.


    Here is a link that might be useful: fig zones

  • pitangadiego

    Per Sybil at Paradise Nursery, trees can be carriers without showing any symptoms.

    Per my experience, the vast majority of my trees show symptoms at some time during the year, and some more severe than others. The symptoms seem to vary according to season and weather, but can't give you what combination causes more severe symptoms. Most will have some speckling on the leaves all year, but the mis-shappen leaves are more pronounced at certain times and on certain varieties.

  • hlyell

    Just to add one observation...this year I added two Violte de Bordeaux trees from a nursery. They were both 3-4 ft. tall 3/4 to 1" diameter in 5 gal. pots. They had no branches. As they budded out virtually all the leaves showed signs of FMV. I also noticed this on a couple other smaller new cuttings as they budded out this year. My point is that I believe these already had FMV and were not infected with it from other trees I have.

  • kkfromnj

    This is the 1st year my Violette de Bordeaux shows any signs. Shaped fine just mottled.

  • pitangadiego

    hlyell, I totally agree. I do not know what the transmission mechanism is (probably insect?) but even cuttings which were started indoors, from places other than my location and my trees, showed signs from the veery first leaf, so an reasonably confident that I did not infect them. All the trees I have from Belleclare showed signs of FMV from leaf one, as well, so I am I quite sure all of their stuff was infected. But I haven't heard any complaints about thier trees.

  • gorgi

    Sorry to hear about you first VdB.FVM signs. I believe yours
    came form me (mama.2002.EL). So far, I have not noticed any
    FMV on the mama or any newly rooted cuttings from it, at
    least the more obvious signs. Will keep a closer watch...
    George (NJ).

  • kkfromnj

    >>>> gorgi KK, Sorry to hear about you first VdB FVM signs

    Not to worry George, IÂve learned FMV is really no big deal (I hope) in most cases. VDB is growing good. As an example, the heavily FMV infected UCD Adriatic, after 2 years of barely moving seems to be growing good this year.

  • herman2_gw

    My Adriatic also from George(viaUCDAVIS),Is alive and well after spending the winter outside ,covered with 3 inches,of soil.I have a hint it is going to give me some fine second crop figs this year.So far so good!!!

  • longbeachin1

    FMV has gotten to all of my trees except one, White Texas Everbearing. The one that is most affected is Seedless Kadota. Every leaf on this one is molted. Supposedly there's a patent pending on this variety. I think they should go back to drawing board and give it some better resistance to FMV. I'm a little disappointed. I've got a Violette de Bordeaux and it only has some mishapen leaves and some marbled discoloration in a few leaves. Overall the VDB is doing better than others who reported on this variety in earlier posts. I'm pretty satisfied with it so far (the fruit is one of the best). The Ventura fig (Adriatic Hybrid) just has some leaves that have marbled discoloration but no deformation at all. The other few fig trees and fig twigs are affected but seem to do pretty well so far.

  • pitangadiego

    Just an observation: I was looking at my four seedlings of Vista and none of them shows any sign of FMV, though there are all surely exposed daily. Vista (the parent) definitely has FMV. Don't know is it means anything - just took notice.

  • nickyfigs

    I recived a celeste fig tree from paradise and it was infected with FMV. I got other fig trees from them and this was the first infected one. NickyFigs

  • pitangadiego

    Paradise worked way overtime to avoid FMV, and destroyed a lot of trees more than once when they found infection (and that costs a lot of money). I wouold be surprised if they had an infected, but it is hard to avoid and not a major concern in the long run. Enjoy your Celeste.

  • elder

    Are all mis-shapen, mottled leaves the result of FMV, or could there be other pathology involved?

  • bjs496


    A deficiency of Manganese(Mn) can cause a mottled apppearance. A deficiency of Zinc(Zn) can cause smaller sized leaves. A deficiency in Boron(B) can cause both mottling and deformity in leaves. Also, an excess of Phosphorus(P) can reduce the plants ability to take up Zinc.

    According to a UC Davis article, "The fig mosaic is vectored by the eriophyid mite Aceria fici; feeding by a single mite is sufficient to transmit the virus to a healthy seedling of F. carica. The virus can also be transmitted by grafting, but it is not seed borne." I would assume this means it could be transmitted through dirty shears, as well.


  • jesj1852

    Like everybody else, I don't like this fig mosaic virus.
    It's my wish to have trees that don't have this disease.
    Once you start collecting, there's a huge risk you'll come across a diseased cutting/fig tree.
    If you are selling or trading cuttings, don't sell, don't trade 'clones' that would carry this FMV into other people's back yards, so to speak. Not all trees have this FMV.
    There are some countries where it's very hard to spot a tree with FMV symptoms.
    It's not because they are asymptomatic. It's because the infection is not there.Or perhaps some of the viruses that belong to this collection of viruses that is known as FMV, are not present. And the 'signs' don't show. The truth is, research on this subject is in its infancy.


    This post was edited by jesj1852 on Wed, May 8, 13 at 16:24

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