Southern Pea Mosaic Virus: Learn About Mosaic Virus Of Southern Pea Plants

southern pea mosaic
southern pea mosaic
(Image credit: Dr Parthasarathy Seethapathy, Tamil Nadu Agricultural University,

Southern peas (crowder, black-eyed pea, and cowpea) may be afflicted by a number of diseases. One common disease is southern pea mosaic virus. What are the symptoms of mosaic virus of southern peas? Read on to learn how to identify southern peas with mosaic virus and learn if the control of mosaic virus in southern peas is possible.

What is Southern Pea Mosaic Virus?

Mosaic virus in southern peas may be caused by several viruses which may found alone or in combination with others. Some southern peas are more susceptible to certain viruses then others. For example, the pinkeye purple hull is extremely susceptible to black-eye cowpea mosaic virus. Other viruses that commonly afflict southern peas include cowpea aphid-borne mosaic virus, common bean mosaic virus and many others. It isn’t possible to determine exactly which virus is causing the disease based on symptoms alone; a laboratory test must be done to determine the viral identity.

Symptoms of Southern Peas with Mosaic Virus

While it may not be possible to exactly identify the causal virus without lab testing, it is possible to determine if the plants likely have mosaic virus since the symptoms, regardless of the virus, are the same. Mosaic virus produces a mosaic pattern on plants, an irregular light and dark green pattern on the foliage. Depending upon the causal virus, the leaves may become thickened and malformed, similar to damage caused by hormone herbicides. Another cause for mosaic patterns on foliage may be a nutrient imbalance. Mosaic patterning is most often seen on young leaves. Additionally, infected plants may become stunted and form distorted pods.

Managing Mosaic Virus of Southern Peas

While there is no effective control, you can manage the disease through preventative measures. Some peas are more susceptible to certain mosaic viruses than others. Plant resistant seeds when possible and seed that has been certified and treated with a fungicide. Rotate the southern pea crop in the garden and plant in a well-draining area. Avoid overhead watering. Remove any pea or bean detritus from the garden post-harvest, as some pathogens overwinter in such debris.

Amy Grant

Amy Grant has been gardening for 30 years and writing for 15. A professional chef and caterer, Amy's area of expertise is culinary gardening.