Cookies on Plantwise Knowledge Bank

Like most websites we use cookies. This is to ensure that we give you the best experience possible.

Continuing to use means you agree to our use of cookies. If you would like to, you can learn more about the cookies we use.

Plantwise Knowledge Bank
  • Knowledge Bank home
  • Change location
Plantwise Technical Factsheet

cauliflower mosaic (Cauliflower mosaic virus)

Host plants / species affected
Brassica napus var. napobrassica (swede)
Brassica napus var. napus (rape)
Brassica napus var. oleifera
Brassica oleracea var. botrytis (cauliflower)
Brassica oleracea var. capitata (cabbage)
Brassica oleracea var. gemmifera (Brussels sprouts)
Brassica oleracea var. italica (broccoli)
Brassica oleracea var. viridis (collards)
Brassica rapa subsp. oleifera (turnip rape)
Brassica rapa subsp. pekinensis
Brassica rapa subsp. rapa (turnip)
Capsella bursa-pastoris (shepherd's purse)
Erysimum cheiri (wallflower)
Lepidium sativum (garden cress)
Matthiola incana (stock)
Raphanus sativus (radish)
Sinapis alba (white mustard)
Sinapis arvensis (wild mustard)
Sisymbrium irio
Sisymbrium officinale (Hedge mustard)
List of symptoms/signs
Leaves  -  abnormal patterns
Whole plant  -  dwarfing

Many strains of the virus induce conspicuous mosaic and mottling of leaves, the severity of which is dependent on the varietal tolerance of susceptible species and environmental conditions (Broadbent, 1957). However, numerous symptomatologically-distinct strains of the virus have been identified (for example, Lung and Pirone, 1973; Hull and Howell, 1978; Tomlinson and Shepherd, 1978; Hull, 1980; Al-Kaff and Covey, 1994, 1995). Symptoms are usually much more severe in plants also containing Turnip mosaic virus or Broccoli necrotic yellows virus (Broadbent, 1957; Feldman et al., 1978; Shepherd, 1981; Henriques and Henriques, 1984; Spak and Novikov, 1994).

Prevention and control

Cultural Control

The most important control procedure is to limit or prevent virus infection of seedlings in seedbeds, because the effects of infection are greater when seedlings are infected at a young stage, and infected seedlings are the most important source of infection within a crop (Pound, 1946; Broadbent, 1957). Infection can be minimized by establishing seedbeds in isolation from susceptible crops or, if this is impractical on small farms, by surrounding the seedbeds with a barrier of cereals (mixture of barley and oats) or, if the costs are justifiable, by growing the seedlings under insect-proofed conditions such as fine-meshed cages. It is suggested that seedbeds should be no wider than 12 rows if barriers are used and, if wider, should have barriers at 12-row intervals (Broadbent, 1957).

Seedbeds should be sprayed with insecticide when aphids are numerous to minimize spread.

When seedlings are transplanted in the field, those from the outer rows of the seedbed and any with virus-like symptoms should be discarded (Broadbent, 1957).

Early roguing of any infected plants can reduce subsequent spread significantly (Caldwell and Prentice, 1942b).

In areas where CaMV is endemic and causes severe annual epidemics, the culture of an intervening immune crop can sometimes break the infection cycle.

Host-Plant Resistance

Brassica cultivars that are resistant and/or tolerant to infection are available. If valuable Brassica breeding material becomes virus-infected, virus-free plants can be readily obtained by meristem tip culture (Walkey et al., 1974).

Although not yet available for commercial use, transgenic virus-resistant plants have been produced for experimental use.

Mild Strain Cross Protection

Mild strains of CaMV have been produced and shown to be potentially useful in protecting inoculated plants from the effects of severe virus strains (Tomlinson and Shepherd, 1978).

Chemical Control

Due to the variable regulations around (de-)registration of pesticides, we are for the moment not including any specific chemical control recommendations. For further information, we recommend you visit the following resources:
- PAN pesticide database (
- Your national pesticide guide


When prevalent, CaMV can cause severe losses of quality and yield of Brassica crops (Caldwell and Prentice, 1942b; Broadbent, 1957); for example, the virus can cause 25-59% loss of marketable cauliflower heads in Brittany, France (Kerlan et al., 1989), and up to 60 and 90% of turnip and turnip rape fresh weight, respectively, in the Czech Republic (Spak, 1989a). The virus is considered to be of major importance in many countries worldwide (Tomlinson, 1987).

Related treatment support
Plantwise Factsheets for Farmers
Isaac, S.; CABI, 2015, English language
Kenya, Kengap Horticulture Ltd; CABI, 2012, English language
Pest Management Decision Guides
Kimariyo, C.; Aloyce, A.; Selestine, E.; CABI, 2013, English language
External factsheets
Cornell University Vegetable MD Online, Cornell University Plant Pathology Department, 1984, English language
University of California IPM Pest Management Guidelines, University of California, 2009, English language
PlantVillage disease guide, PlantVillage, English language
University of California IPM Pest Management Guidelines, University of California, 2009, English language
Clemson Cooperative Extension Factsheets, Clemson University Cooperative Extension, 2004, English language
Zoomed image