Curly top is a viral disease that affects many crops. This disease causes plants to become smaller in size, have shriveled petals and leaves, and are twisted and pulled out of shape. They are often caused by curtoviruses (genus Curtovirus), members of the virus family Geminiviridae. This disease is important in western United States, such as California, Utah, Washington, and Idaho.
- Beet curly top virus causes curly top disease in beets and is carried by the beet leafhopper (Circulifer tenellus) throughout arid and semi-arid locations. . The term curly top virus often refers to this specific virus. It can also cause curly top in tomatoes, beans, cucurbits, and other crops. This disease can be reduced if plants are planted in the shade because the beet leafhoppers and other insects like to feed on these plants in the sun.
- Curly top disease in spinach can be caused by Beet curly top virus, Pepper curly top virus, or Spinach curly top virus.
- Other curly top curtoviruses include Beet severe curly top virus, Beet mild curly top virus, and Horseradish curly top virus. Turnip curly top virus may also be a species of Curtovirus.
The most common plants to carry the curly virus are beets, tomatoes, spinach, peppers, beans, potatoes, cucurbits, many ornamentals, and weeds such as Russian thistle (tumbleweed) and mustard. These are not the only plants to carry this, in fact, a total of 44 plant families and 300 species are susceptible to it. Sugar beets are the most common carriers of the disease.
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