How to Manage Pests

Pests in Gardens and Landscapes

Abutilon mosaic virus

Abutilon mosaic virus causes yellow to whitish blotches on leaves of Chinese lantern, Chinese bellflower, or flowering maple, Abutilon spp. These leaf blotches are considered attractive, and infected plants are commonly sold as variegated plants.


Abutilon mosaic virus causes vein-limited blotches on leaves. The leaves are heavily mottled with a bright yellow to whitish mosaic. The discolored patches are sharply delimited by leaf veins, giving blotches an angular appearance. Symptoms may vary seasonally depending on light intensity. Other viruses also can infect abutilon.

Life cycle

Abutilon mosaic virus is naturally transmitted by an insect vector, the silverleaf or sweetpotato whitefly, Bemisia tabaci. The whitefly nymphs and adults acquire the virus when feeding on infected plants. Adult whiteflies carrying the virus transmit it when they migrate and feed on other abutilon.

The virus is also transmitted by mechanical inoculation (infected sap moved on cutting tools) and by grafting an infected plant part onto an uninfected host. Abutilon mosaic virus is deliberately spread by propagators to produce the bright yellow variegation on the leaves of abutilon plants for sale. Once a plant becomes infected with virus, it usually remains infected throughout its life.


Abutilon mosaic virus has little or no effect on plant growth, vigor, and flowering.


This virus causes no apparent harm to plants. Propagators deliberately select infected plants because many people like these variegated abutilon cultivars. For more information, see Viruses.

Vein-limited yellow blotches
Vein-limited yellow blotches

Virus-variegated abutilon for sale
Virus-variegated abutilon for sale

Statewide IPM Program, Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of California
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