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A Checklist of Major Weeds and Crops as Natural Hosts for Plant Viruses in the Northeast

November 2001

Thomas A. Zitter,Department of Plant Pathology,Cornell University,Ithaca, New York 14853 (607) 255-7857

Link to Photo Gallery of Major Weeds as Natural Hosts for Plant Viruses

Link to Photo Gallery of Major Crops as Natural Hosts for Plant Viruse

"If there wasn't a source of virus, there wouldn't be a virus problem". This simplistic statement implies that viruses must originate from known sources, and in the case of most plant viruses there are three main sources.

1. Viruses that are seed transmitted or seedpiece transmitted
a. Bean common mosaic potyvirus in beans, soybean mosaic potyvirus in soybean, and lettuce mosaic potyvirus in lettuce are important seed transmitted examples.
b. Seedpiece transmitted viruses are common for many potato viruses.

2. Viruses that are introduced into the area as infected transplants

3. Viruses that occur on naturally infected weed hosts or originate in an adjoining infected susceptible crop.

The emphasis of the paper is to provide a convenient checklist of the most commonly occurring naturally infected weed hosts and cultivated crops in the Northeast. Not included in the plant list are additional plants that can be infected experimentally. Similarly, for the most part only those plant viruses are included which commonly occur in the Northeast. The text book, Weeds of the Northeast (WNE), with the corresponding description page is indicated in the table below. References are provided at the end for more detailed information on weed identification and plant virus descriptions and host ranges.

The keys to the Viruses and the Life Cycles abbreviations can be found below the table.

Common Name


Scientific Name


Life cycle



Amaranthacae (Amaranth family)            
Tumble pigweed   Amaranthus albus 90 Annual    
Smooth pigweed   Amaranthus hybridus 94 Annual   AMV, PVY
Redroot pigweed   Amaranthus retroflexus 94 S/annual   AMV, CMV, TSWV, TurMV
Prostrate pigweed   Amaranthus blitoides (graecizans) 92 S/annual   AMV, CMV, PVY TSWV
Spiny amaranth   Amaranthus spinosus 96 S/annual   AMV, CMV, PVY
Apiaceae (Umbellifera family)            
Wild carrot   Daucus carota 100 Biennial   Aster Yellows Mycloplasma, TurMV
Giant hogweed   Heracleum mantegazzianum 98 Biennial, Perennial   CeMV
Asclepiadaceae (Milkweed family)          
Common milkweed   Asclepias syriaca 102 Perennial   AMV, CMV
Asteraceae (Compositae or Aster family)          
Common yarrow   Achillea millefolium 106 Perennial    
Common ragweed   Ambrosia artemisiifolia 108 S/annual    
Mayweed chamomile   Anthemis colula 112 S/W annual    
Common burdock   Arctium minus 114 Biennial    
White heath aster   Aster pilosus 118 Perennial    
New England aster   Aster novae-angliae 118 Perennial    
Annual fleabane   Erigeron annuus 136 S/annual; rarely Biennial   AMV
Horseweed   Conyza (Erigeron) canadensis 136 S/W annual   CMV,BiMV
Devil's beggarticks   Bidens frondosa 122 S/annual    
Spanish needles   Bidens bipinnata   S/annual    
Hairy Beggarticks   Bidens pilosa   S/annual   BiMV, TSWV
Musk thistle   Carduus nutans 124 Biennial    
Spotted knapweed (Star thistle)   Centaurea maculosa (stoebe) 126 Biennial; S/L perennial    
Bachelor's button   Centaurea cyanus   Annual   TurMV
Dusty miller   Centaurea cineraria   Perennial    
Oxeye daisy   Chrysanthemum leucanthemum 128 Perennial   AMV (Chrysanthemum sp.) CMV, TSWV
Chicory (coffee-weed)   Cichorium intybus 130 Perennial   CMV, TSWV
Canada thistle   Cirsium arvense 132 Perennial   CMV, BYMV, TurMV
Bull thistle   Cirsium vulgare 134 Biennial    
Dogfennel   Eupatorium capillifolium 140 S/L perennial    
Hairy galinsoga   Galinsoga ciliata (quadriradiata) 142 Annual   AMV, CMV, TurMV
Smallflower galinsoga   Galinsoga parviflora 142 Annual   AMV, CMV, TurMV
Jerusalem artichoke   Helianthus tuberosus 146 Perennial   CMV
Yellow hawkweed   Hieracium pratense 148 Perennial    
Orange hawkweed   Hieracium aurantiacum 148 Perennial    
Mouse-ear hawkweed   Hieracium pilosella   Perennial   CMV
Common catsear (false dandelion)   Hypochoeris radicata   Perennial   CMV, TurMV
Prickly lettuce   Lactuca serriola (scariola) 150 S/annual; Biennial   CMV, TSWV
Pineapple weed   Matricaria matricarioides 152 S/W annual    
Wild chamomile   Matricaria chamomilla   Annual   CMV, TurMV
Bristly oxtongue   Picris echioides (154) S/annual;Biennial   LMV
Common groundsel   Senecio vulgaris 154 S/W annual   AMV, CMV (Also other species)
Cressleaf groundsel   Senecio glabellus (154) s/w annual    
Canada goldenrod   Solidago canadensis 156 Perennial   CMV
Perennial sowthistle   Sonchus arvensis 158 Perennial   AMV, CMV, TurMV
Annual sowthistle   Sonchus oleraceus 160 Annual   AMV, CMV, TSWV (Also other species)
Spiny sowthistle   Sonchus aspen 160 Annual   AMV, CMV
Dandelion   Taraxacum officinale 162 Perennial   AMV, CMV, PVY, TurMV
Western salsify   Tragopogon dubius 164 Biennial   CMV
Common cocklebur   Xanthium strumarium 166 S/annual    
Spiny cocklebur   Xanthium spinosum 166 S/annual   AMV
Cocklebur   Xanthium orientale 166 S/annual   CMV
Endive/escarole   Cichorium endivia   Annual   AMV, CMV, TSWV, TurMV
Sunflower   Helianthus annuus   Annual   AMV, CMV, BYMV, TurMV, TSWV
Lettuce, many types   Lactuca sativa   Annual   AMV, CMV, TurMV, TSWV, BiMV, BBWV, LMV
Brassicaceae (Cruciferae or Mustard family)          
Yellow rocket   Barbarea vulgaris 169 W/annual; Biennial   CMV, TurMV
Wild mustard   Brassica kaber (B. arvensis, Sinapis arvensis) 170 S/W annual; Biennial ?   CMV, TurMV
Birdsrape mustard   Brassica rapa 170 S/W annual; Biennial ?   AMV, CMV, PVY, TurMV
Black mustard   Brassica nigra 170 S/W annual; Biennial ?   CMV, TurMV
Shepherd's-purse   Capsella bursa-pastoris 172 W/annual   AMV, CMV, TurMV, TSWV, WMV
Hairy bittercress   Cardamine hirsuta 174 S/W annual   CMV
Field pepperweed   Lepidium campestre 176 S/W annual    
Virginia pepperweed   Lepidium virginicum 178 S/W annual   BimV
Wild radish   Raphanus raphanistrum 180 S/W annual   CMV, TurMV
Marsh yellowcress   Rorippa islandica 182 Annual, Biennial; S/L Perennial rarely   CMV
Hedge mustard   Sisymbrium officinale 184 S/W annual   CMV, TurMV
Tumble mustard   Sisymbrium altissimum 184 S/W annual   CMV, TurMV
Field pennycress   Thlaspi arvense   S/W annual   CMV, TurMV
Broccoli, Cauliflower   Brassica oleracea var. botrytis       TurMV
Brussels sprouts   Brassica oleracea var. gemmifera       TurMV
Cabbage, Kale, Kohlrabi   Brassica oleracea       TurMV
Chinese mustard   Brassica juncae       TurMV
Collards, Kale   Brassica oleracea var.acephala       TurMV
Kohlrabi   Brassica oleracea var gongylodes       TurMV
Pak-choi   Brassica chinensis       TurMV
Rutabaga   Brassica napus var. napobrassica       TurMV
Savoy cabbage   Brassica oleracea var. capitata       TurMV
Caryophyllaceae (Pink family)          
Corn cockle   Agrostemma githago 190 W/annual   CMV, TurMV
White campion (cockle)   Silene alba (Lychnis alba) 198 S/W annual;Biennial   CMV, TMV, TurMV
    Silene colei-rosa ? 198 S/L Perennial   AMV
Mouseear chickweed   Cerastium vulgatum 192 Perennial    
Field chickweed   Cerastium arvense 192 Perennial   CMV
Little starwort   Stellaria graminea 200 Perennial    
Common chickweed   Stellaria media (CMV seedtransmitted 3-40%) 202 W/annual; Perennialized in cool, moist areas   CMV, BYMV, PVY, TSWV, TurMV
Chenopodiaceae (Goosefoot or Lamb's quarter family)            
Common lambsquarters   Chenopodium album 204 Annual   AMV, CMV, BYMV, CIYVV, PVY, SoyMV, TEV, TurMV, WMV
Spinach   Spinacia oleracea   Annual   AMV, CMV, BBWV, BYMV, ClYVV, LMV, PVY, TEV, TSWV, TurMV, WMV
Commelinaceae (Spiderwort family)            
Common dayflower   Commelina communis 24 annual/perennial   CMV
Convolvulaceae (Morningglory family)            
Hedge bindweed   Calystegia sepium (syn. Convolvulus sepium) 208 Perennial    
Field bindweed   Convolvulus arvensis 210 Perennial   AMV, CMV, PVY, TSWV
Morningglories   Ipomoea spp. 214 S/annual   AMV, CMV
Pitted morningglory   Ipomoea lacunosa 214 S/annual   CMV
Tall morningglory   Ipomoea purpurea 214 S/annual   CMV
Cucurbitaceae (Cucurbit or Gourd family)          
Bur cucumber   Sicyos angulatus 218 S/annual   CMV, PRSV, WMV
Wild cucumber   Echinociptis lobata 218 S/annual   CMV, WMV
Creeping cucumber   Melothria pendula   Perennial   PRSV,WMV
Balsam-pear   Momodica charantia   Perennial   PRSV
Cucumber, slicing and pickling   Cucumis sativus   Annual   AMV, BBWV, CMV, BCMV, BYMV, PRSV, PVY, TSWV, TurMV, WMV, ZYMV
Cantaloupe, muskmelon   Cucumis melo   Annual   AMV, CMV, WMV, TSWV, ZYMV, PRSV
Watermelon   Citrullus lanatus   Annual   AMV, CMV, BYMV, PeaMV, PRSV, WMV, ZYMV
Summer squash, yellow, spaghetti, zucchini   Cucurbita pepo   Annual   AMV, BBWV, BYMV, PRSV, TurMV, WMV, ZYMV
Pumpkin, gourds   Cucurbita pepo   Annual   AMV, BBWV, BYMV, PRSV, TurMV, WMV, ZYMV
Winter squash - acorn   Cucurbita pepo   Annual   AMV, CMV, BYMV, PRSV, TurMV, WMV, ZYMV
- butternut   Cucurbita moschata   Annual   CMV, PRSV, WMV, ZYMV
- blue hubbard, buttercup   Cucurbita maxima   Annual   CMV, BYMV, PRSV, WMV, ZYMV
Dipsacaceae (Teasel family)            
Common teasel   Dipsacus fullonum (syn. Dipsacus sylvestris) 220 Biennial   CMV
Euphorbiaceae (Spurge family)            
Virginia copperleaf   Acalypha virginica 222 S/annual    
    Acalypha austalis   S/annual   CMV
Leafy spurge   Euphorbia esula 224 Perennial    
Spotted spurge   Euphorbia maculata 226 S/annual    
    (Note: Other Euphorbia spp. are CMV susceptible)        
Fabaceae (Leguminosae or Bean and Pea family)            
Birdsfoot trefoil   Lotus corniculatus 228 Perennial   AMV, CMV
Black medic   Medicago lupulina 230 S/annual (less common W/annual or Biennial   AMV, BYMV, CIYVV
Rabbitfoot clover   Trifolium arvense 234 S/W annual   BYMV
White clover   Trifolium repens 236 Perennial   AMV, CMV, BYMV, CIYVV
Strawberry clover   Trifolium fragiferum 236 Perennial   AMV
Alsike clover   Trifolium hydridum 236 Perennial   AMV, BYMV, BCMV, CIYVV, CMV, TurMV
Red clover   Trifolium pratense 236 Perennial   AMV, BYMV, ClYVV, CMV, WMV
Bird vetch   Vicia cracca 238 Perennial    
Narrowleaf vetch   Vicia sativa ssp. nigra 238 S/W annual   AMV, CMV
Common vetch   Vicia sativa 238 S/W annual   AMV, CMV, WMV
Sparrow vetch   Vicia tetrasperma 238 Annual    
Hairy vetch   Vicia villosa   S/W annual; Biennial   AMV
Crown (or trailing) vetch   Coronilla varia 240 Perennial (Highway embankments)   CMV
Alfalfa   Medicago sativa   Perennial   AMV, CMV, BCMV, BYMV, ClYVV, WMV
Bean (Dry, Kidney, Navy, Runner, Snap & Wax)   Phaseolus vulgaris   Annual   AMV, CMV, BCMV, BYMV, ClYVV, TSWV, SoyMV, WMV
Broad/Fava Bean   Vicia faba   Annual   AMV, CMV, BCMV, BYMV, ClYVV, TSWV, SoyMV, TurMV, WMV
Lima Bean   Phaseolus lunatus   Annual   AMV, CMV, BCMV, BYMV
Mung Bean   Vigna radiata   Annual   AMV, CMV, BCMV, TSWV
Scarlet Runner Bean   Phaseolus coccineus   Annual   AMV, CMV, BCMV
Yard-long Bean, cowpea, blackeyed cowpea   Vigna unguiculata   Annual   AMV, BCMV, BYMV, ClYVV, CMV, PVY, SoyMV, TSWV, WMV
Lupine   Lupinus alba   Annual   AMV, BCMV, BYMV, CMV, SoyMV, TSWV, TurMV, WMV
Pea   Pisum sativum   Annual   AMV, BCMV, BYMV, ClYVV, CMV, PVY, SoyMV, TSVW, WMV
Soybean   Glycine max   Annual   AMV, BCMV, BYMV, ClYVV, CMV, SoyMV, TSWV, WMV
Geraniaceae (Geranium family)          
Redstem filaree   Erodium cicutarium 242 W/annual; Perennial   CMV, TurMV
Carolina geranium (crane's bill)   Geranium carolinianum 244 Biennial   CMV
    Geranium molle        
    Geranium pusillum        
Lamiaceae (Labiatae or Mint family)          
Ground Ivy   Glechoma hederacea 246 Perennial    
Henbit   Lamium amplexicaule 248 W/annual   AMV, CMV, TurMV, WMV
Purple deadnettle   Lamium purpureum 248 W/annual   CMV
Healall   Prunella vulgaris 250 Perennial   AMV, CMV?
Creeping thyme   Thymus serpyllum 252 Perennial    
Lythraceae (Loosestrife family)          
Purple loosestrife   Lythrum salicaria 254 Perennial   CMV
Malvaceae (Mallow family)          
Velvetleaf   Abutilon theophrasti 256 S/annual   TurMV
Venice mallow   Hibiscus trionium 258 S/annual    
Common mallow   Malva neglecta 260 S/W annual; Biennial   WMV
Prickly sida   Sida sponosa 262 S/annual    
Okra   Abelmoschus esculentus (Hibiscus esculentus)   Annual   AMV, CMV, TurMV, WMV
Onagraceae (Eveningprimrose family)            
Cutleaf eveningprimrose   Oenothera laciniata 264 Biennial   TSWV
Oxalidaceae (Wood sorrel family)          
Yellow woodsorrel   Oxalis stricta 266 Perennial    
Creeping woodsorrel   Oxalis corniculata 266 Annual    
Papaveraceae (Poppy family)            
Mexican pricklepoppy   Argemone mexicana 267 Annual (South Florida)   BiMV
Phytolaccaceae (Pokeweed family)          
Common pokeweed   Phytolacca americana 268 Perennial   TurMV, WMV
Plantaginaceae (Plaintain family)          
Buckhorn plaintain   Plantago lanceolata 270 Perennial   PVY
Bracted plaintain   Plantago aristata 270 Perennial    
Broadleaf plaintain   Plantago major 272 Perennial   TSWV
Polygonaceae (Smartweed family)          
Prostrate knotweed   Polygonum aviculare 274 S/annual    
Wild buckwheat   Polygonum convolvulus 276 Annual   TSWV
Pennsylvania smartweed   Polygonum pensylvanicum 280 S/annual    
Red sorrel   Rumex acetosella 284 Perennial    
Curly dock   Rumex crispus 286 Perennial    
Buckwheat   Fagopyrum esculentum        
Portulacaceae (Purslane family)          
Common purslane   Portulaca oleracea 288 S/annual   AMV, CMV, PVY, TurMV, TSWV
Primulaceae (Primrose family)          
Scarlet pimpernel   Anagallis arvensis 290 Annual   AMV, CMV, TurMV
Moneywort, creeping loosestrife   Lysimachia nummularia 292 Perennial    
Garden loosestrife   Lysimachia vulgaris   Perennial   CMV
Roseceae (Rose family)          
Wild strawberry   Fagaria virginiana 296 Perennial    
Oldfield cinquefoil   Potentilla simplex 298 Perennial    
Common cinquefoil   Potentilla canadensis 298 Perennial    
Rubiaceae (Madder family)          
Virginia buttonweed   Diodia virginiana 300 Perennial    
Catchweed bedstraw   Galium aparine 302 S/W annual    
Smooth bedstraw   Galium mollugo 302 Perennial    
Scrophulariaceae (Figwort family)          
Yellow toadflax   Linaria vulgais 304 Perennial    
Oldfied toadflax   Linaria canadensis 304 S/W annual or Biennial   TEV
Common mullein   Verbascum thapsus 306 Biennial   CMV
Moth mullein   Verbascum blattaria 306 Biennial    
Corn speedwell   Veronica arvensis 308 W/annual   CMV
Field speedwell   Veronica agrestis 308 S/annual   CMV
Ivy-leaf speedwell   Veronica hederifolia 308 W/annual   CMV
Long-leaf speedwell   Veronica longifolia 308 Perennial   AMV
Solanaceae (Nightshade family)            
Jimsonweed   Datura stramonium 312 S/annual   AMV, CMV, PVX, TEV, TMV, TSWV, TurMV, WMV
Smooth groundcherry   Physalis subglabrata 314 Perennial   AMV, PVY, TEV
Clammy groundcherry   Physalis heterophylla 314 Perennial   CMV, PVY, TEV
Horsenettle   Solanum carolinense 316 Perennial   CMV, TEV
Bittersweet nightshade   Solanum dulcamara 316 Perennial   AMV, CMV, PVY, TSWV
Black nightshade   Solanum nigrum 316 Annual   AMV, CMV, PVY, TEV, TurMV, TSVW, WMV
Eastern black nightshade   Solanum ptycanthum (Syn. S. nigrum) 318 Annual, rarely S/L Perennial   AMV, CMV, TurMV, PVY, WMV, TEV,TSWV
American black nightshade   Solanum americanum 318 Annual   PVY
Hairy nightshade   Solanum sarrachoides 318 Annual   PVY
Pepper   Capsicum annuum   Annual   AMV, CMV, PVX, PVY, TEV, TMV, TSWV
    Capsicum frutescens   Annual   AMV, CMV, PVY, TEV, TMV, TSWV
Tomato   Lycopersicon esculentum   Annual   AMV, CMV, BYMV, TurMV, PVY, PVX, TEV, TSWV
Petunia   Petunia hybrida   Annual   AMV, CMV, BYMV, TurMV, CiYVV, PVY, SoyMV, TEV, TSWV
Eggplant   Solanum melongena   Annual   AMV, CMV, PVY, TEV, TSWV
Potato   Solanum tuberosum   Annual   AMV, CMV, PVY, TEV, TSWV, PVX
Urticaceae (Nettle family)          
Stinging nettle   Urtica dioica var. procera 320 Perennial    
Burning nettle   Urtica urens   Annual   CMV
Violaceae (Violet family)          
Field violet   Viola arvensis 322 W/annual    
Common blue violet   Viola papilionacea 324 Perennial    
Garden pansy, Johnny-jump-ups   Viola tricolor 322 S/L Perennial   AMV, CMV, PVY

Link to Photo Gallery of Major Weeds as Natural Hosts for Plant Viruses in the Northeast.

Link to Photo Gallery of Major Crops as Natural Hosts for Plant Viruses in the Northeast

Life Cycle Key

Annual plants = Surviving only one season but can exist as:
S/Annuals = Summer annuals will germinate in the spring or summer and die in the same season.
S/W annuals = Summer or Winter annuals. Winter annuals will germinate in the late summer and may
tolerate cold weather (overwintering) and then flower and later dying the next spring or summer.
Biennials = Plants that require 2 years to complete its life cycle, with vegetative growth in the first year, and
following winter vernalization, plants flower, set seed and die.
S/L perennials = Plants that generally do not live more than 2 years.

Virus Key

AMV = Alfalfa Mosaic alfamovirus, wide host range and important for legume and other crops
BBWV = Broad Bean Wilt fabavirus 1, an important virus affecting bean, lettuce and spinach
CeMV=Celery mosaic potyvirus, also called western celery mosaic
CMV = Cucumber Mosaic cucumovirus, wide host range with many weed hosts and crops
BiMV = Bidens Mottle potyvirus, mainly lettuce and endive crops
BCMV = Bean Common Mosaic potyvirus, especially important for legume crops
BYMV = Bean Yellow Mosaic potyvirus, important for legume crops
ClYVV = Clover Yellow Vein potyvirus, important for legume crops
LMV = Lettuce Mosaic Virus, primary importance for lettuce
PeaMV = Pea Mosaic Virus is now considered as a strain of Bean Yellow Mosaic potyvirus and is important for legume crops.
PRSV = Papaya ringspot potyvirus, intermediate host range and most important for cucurbits
PVX = Potato Virus X potexvirus, importat for solanadeous crops
PVY = Potato Virus Y potyvirus, important for solanaceous crops
SoyMV = Soybean Mosaic potyvirus, important for legumes crops
TEV = Tobacco Etch potyvirus, important for solanaceous crops
TSWV = Tomato Spotted Wilt tospovirus, wide host range for weeds, crops, and ornamentals
TMV = Tobacco (tomato) Mosaic tobamovirus, wide host range but solaneceous crops most important
TurMV = Turnip Mosaic potyvirus, wide host range, mainly crucifer/compositae crops
WMV = Watermelon Mosaic potyvirus, diverse host range but cucurbit crops most important
ZYMV = Zucchini Yellow Mosaic potyvirus, important for cucurbit crops

Weed Information
Anonymous 1975. Nebraska weeds. State of Nebraska, Department of Agriculture, Weed Division. Lincoln, Nebraska.

Brako, L., Rossman, A.Y., and Farr, D.F. 1995. Scientific and common names of 7,000 vascular plants in the United States. APS Press, St. Paul, MN.

Muenscher, W.C. 1987. Weeds, with a new forward and new appendixes by Peter A. Hyypio. Cornell University Press, Ithaca, NY.

Uva, R.H., Neal, J.C., and DiTomaso, J.M. 1997. Weeds of the Northeast. Cornell University Press, Sage House, 512 East State St.,Ithaca, NY. (607)277-2211

Virus Information
Brunt, A.A., Crabtree, K., and Gibbs, A.J. 1990. Viruses of tropical plants. CAB International, Wallingford, UK.

Brunt, A.A., Crabtree, K., Dallwitz, M.J., Gibbs, A.J., Watson, L. and Zurcher, E.J. (eds.) (1996 onwards). "Plant Viruses Online: Descriptions and Lists from the VIDE Database. Version: 20th August 1996. http://image.fs.uidaho.edu/vide/refs.htm#suscept

Edwardson, J.R., and Christie, R.G. 1986. Viruses infecting forage legumes. Volumes I-III. Florida Agricultural Experiment Station. Monogram Series 14. Gainesville, FL.

Edwardson, J.R., and Christie, R.G. 1991. The potyvirus group. Volumes I-IV. Florida Agricultural Experiment Station. Monograph 16. Gainesville, FL.