University of California

Spotted wilt of white, yellow, and pink callas


C. M. Tompkins
Henry H. P. Severin

Authors Affiliations

C. M. Tompkins was Associate Plant Pathologist in the Experiment Station, Berkeley; Henry H. P. Severin was Entomologist in the Experiment Station, Berkeley.

Publication Information

Hilgardia 20(12):207-232. DOI:10.3733/hilg.v20n12p207. September 1950.

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Abstract does not appear. First page follows.

Spotted wilt is a destructive virus disease of widespread occurrence in field plantings of the white calla, Zantedeschia aethiopica Spreng., the yellow calla, Z. elliottiana Engler, and the pink calla, Z. rehmannii Engler, in the northern end of the San Francisco Peninsula and in the Monterey Bay region of California. Because of its economic importance, field and greenhouse studies have been in progress, intermittently, for more than a decade. Discussed in this paper are the symptoms of spotted wilt on each of the three calla species, artificial transmission of the disease in the greenhouse, perpetuation of the virus in vegetative organs, and suggestions for control.

Review of Literature

The first reports on the occurrence of spotted wilt on a monocotyledonous host were published in Great Britain and the United States. (Ogilvie (1935))4 and (Ainsworth (1935 a), (b)) recorded the disease on white calla in Great Britain while (Gardner and Whipple (1934)) briefly mentioned its presence in California.

(Ainsworth (1935 a)) described the symptoms of the disease on leaves, flower stalks, and buds. In greenhouses, spotted wilt was spread by the onion thrips, Thrips tabaci, the calla flowers being favorite breeding areas of the insect. Ainsworth recommended removal and destruction of infected plants, regular fumigation with nicotine, and using only healthy stock for propagating purposes.

(K. M. Smith (1935), (1937), (1945), (1947)) also described the symptoms of spotted wilt on white calla, in close agreement with the work of (Ainsworth (1935 a)). For control of the disease he suggested nicotine fumigation in the greenhouse, removal and destruction of diseased plants, dusting of the plants with powdered naphthalene as a further means of checking thrips, and propagating only with seed and vegetative organs from healthy plants.

The spotted wilt virus was transmitted artificially in greenhouse tests from infected white calla to healthy tomato plants (Gardner, Tompkins, and Whipple, 1935).

Zantedeschia mosaic was reported by (Edson and Wood (1936)).

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Tompkins C, Severin H. 1950. Spotted wilt of white, yellow, and pink callas. Hilgardia 20(12):207-232. DOI:10.3733/hilg.v20n12p207
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