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

Re-posted from VegetableMD Online. 


“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. Transmitted via seed or seedpiece.
    1. Examples are bean common mosaic potyvirus in beans, soybean mosaic potyvirus in soybean, and lettuce mosaic potyvirus in lettuce.
    2. Seedpiece transmitted viruses are common for many potato viruses.
  2. Introduced by an infected transplant.
  3. Naturally occurring on infected weed hosts or originating in an adjoining infected susceptible crop.

This article provides 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 which commonly occur in the Northeast are included.

The textbook 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 Life Cycle Key and Virus Key are found below the table.

Common Name Scientific Name WNE Page Life Cycle Virus(es)
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
Rose of heaven Silene coeli-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

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 die the next spring or summer.
  • Biennials: plants that require 2 years to complete 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

Abbreviation Species Name Affected Crops
AMV Alfalfa Mosaic alfamovirus wide host range: legumes and others
BBWV Broad Bean Wilt fabavirus 1 bean, lettuce, and spinach
CeMV Celery Mosaic potyvirus (or Western Celery Mosaic) celery
CMV Cucumber Mosaic cucumovirus wide host range affecting many weed hosts
BiMV Bidens Mottle potyvirus lettuce and endive
BCMV Bean Common Mosaic potyvirus legumes
BYMV Bean Yellow Mosaic potyvirus legumes
C1YVV Clover Yellow Vein potyvirus legumes
LMV Lettuce Mosaic Virus lettuce
PeaMV Pea Mosaic virus (now considered strain of BYMV) legumes
PRSV Papaya Ringspot potyvirus intermediate host range, affects cucurbits
PVX Potato Virus X potexvirus Solanaceae
PVY Potato Virus Y potyvirus Solanaceae
SoyMV Soybean Mosaic potyvirus legumes
TEV Tobacco Etch potyvirus Solanaceae
TSWV Tomato Spotted Wilt tospovirus wide host range for weeds, crops, and ornamentals
TMV Tobacco (tomato) Mosaic tobamovirus wide host range, affects Solanaceae
TurMV Turnip Mosaic potyvirus wide host range, affects Brassicaceae and Asteraceae
WMV Watermelon Mosaic potyvirus wide host range, affects cucurbits
ZYMV Zucchini Yellow Mosaic potyvirus cucurbits

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.

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.

More information/prepared by:

Thomas A. Zitter
Professor Emeritus, Plant Pathology and Plant-Microbe Biology
School of Integrative Plant Science
College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
Cornell University

Margaret Tuttle McGrath
Associate Professor
Long Island Horticultural Research and Extension Center (LIHREC)
Plant Pathology and Plant-Microbe Biology Section
School of Integrative Plant Science
College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
Cornell University

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