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papaya mosaic

Papaya mosaic virus
This information is part of a full datasheet available in the Crop Protection Compendium (CPC); For information on how to access the CPC, click here.
©CAB International. Published under a CC-BY-NC-SA 4.0 licence.


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Host plants / species affected

Main hosts

show all species affected
Carica papaya (pawpaw)

List of symptoms / signs

Leaves - abnormal patterns
Whole plant - dwarfing


Pawpaw disease caused by this potexvirus is of minor importance. Symptoms of infection include mild leaf mosaic and stunting. No symptoms appear on petioles, stems or fruit. Stunting is only apparent when healthy plants are present for comparison (Conover, 1964). Approximately 5 days after inoculation, young greenhouse-grown seedlings show vein-clearing and downward cupping of leaves. Leaf mosaic develops after 15-20 days (Purcifull and Hiebert, 1971).

PapMV-related infections occur in a variety of hosts and produce various symptoms:

Alternanthera pungens: leaf mosaic.
Boussingaultia (Anredera) spp.: leaf mosaic and chlorotic spotting.
Callistephus chinensis: leaf mosaic and distortion.
Carica pentagona: leaf mosaic.
Coccinia grandis: leaf mottle and chlorotic veins.
Olea europaea: leaf chlorosis.
Plantago major: leaf mottle/mosaic, distortion, stunt.
Portulaca x hybrida: leaf mottle, distortion, stunt.
Salvia buchananii: leaf mottle, chlorotic wavy lines.
Taraxacum officinale: leaf mosaic and distortion.
Trichosanthes dioica: chlorotic leaf flecking.
Ullucus tuberosus: latent infection.

Prevention and control

Control measures include: planting virus-free seedlings; transplanting virus-free seedlings into new field soil or rotating with non-host crops; inactivating the virus on contaminated tools and pots by first removing excess dirt and plant debris, and then, either heating for 1 hour in an oven at 150°C, or soaking for a few minutes in 0.525% sodium hypochlorite solution (rinse with water to remove excess sodium hypochlorite).

When working with plants it is very important to keep hands clean and wear plastic gloves that can be dipped in 0.525% sodium hypochlorite which is then rinsed in water. Symptomatic plants should be rogued and burnt if possible.


PapMV infection initiated at the seedling stage on pawpaw (Carica papaya) results in a slightly stunted plant with leaf mottle, still able to produce fruit with no significant reduction on size or yield. Other species of the Caricaceae family are also subject to infection by PapMV which, in some, is lethal.

Mixed infections of viruses in pawpaw induce disease symptoms that can be more serious than those associated with a single infection. Severe leaf mottle and malformation, shortened petioles and rapid decline may occur. PapMV alone causes symptoms of minor concern, as do milder strains of Papaya ringspot virus, but a combination of the two viruses can result in lethal decline (Conover, 1964; Cook and Zettler, 1970).