Tomato Spotted Wilt Virus

Insect-vectored disease spread by thrips. Most common in the southeast

Physical Description


Species & Taxonomy

  • Kingdom:
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Plants Affected

  • Tomatoes
  • Peppers

Plants Unaffected


Geographical Range

Most common in the southeast

Signs & Symptoms

Whole Plant

  • black streaks on petioles or stems
  • growing tips are usually severely affected
  • systemic necrosis
  • greatly stunted growth
  • plant may exhibit one-sided growth
  • in peppers, long necrotic streaks appear on stems extending to the growing tips


  • upper young leaves of tomatoes turn bronze and develop small dark spots or flecks
  • growing tips die out (dieback)
  • Peppers:
    • virus may cause sudden yelling and browning of young leaves which later become necrotic
  • Potatoes:
    • broad dark spots and necrotic ringspots, often with yellow-green halos, occur on both upper & lower leaves
  • Tomatoes:
    • young leaves may show small, dark brown spots and eventually die
    • dark brown streaks also appear on stems and leaf petioles



  • ringspots (yellow or brown rings)
  • other line patterns of yellow or brown
  • in tomatoes, immature fruit have mottled, light green rings with raised centers
  • in peppers, fruit formed after infection display large necrotic streaks and spots while younger fruit may be completely necrotic


How to Positively Identify

Differentiate from curly top virus:

  • CTV does not cause bronze leaves or small dark spots or flecks on the leaves.
  • CTV also does not cause fruit to show
    •  concentric rings on both green and red tomatoes

Positive identification of the virus requires a lab, but if thrips are present in high numbers, it is likely that one of the viruses (curly top virus or tomato spotted wilt virus) are the culprit


Prevention & Control


Cultural Controls:


Temperature & Humidity:

Mulching & Cultivation Practices:

Natural Enemies & Biological Controls






Sprays & Dusts


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