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Virus?

This is a discussion on Virus? within the General Orchid Culture forums, part of the Orchid Culture category; What are symptoms of orchid viruses? One of the divisions of my oncidium has developed ...

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  1. #1
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    Default Virus?

    What are symptoms of orchid viruses? One of the divisions of my oncidium has developed patches that go all the way through the leaf, and there is no flesh there. It is very rapid, I noticed it yesterday when I cam home from work. I have moved the palnt away for everything.

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    OT, if it's spreading as rapidly as you say, the problem is more than like likely a bacterial infection. Are the spots brown, kind of wet / watery and mushy looking? If they are, cut off the infected leaves with sterilized scissors or a razor blade, and spray the whole plant with RD-20, Physan, or some other kind of bactericide. If you don't have any of those, use listerine, full strength.

    Virus infections look like sunken spots on the leaves, sometimes with brown, spirally whorls. When you say "there's no flesh there," is it an actual hole, or more of a flattened-out spot?

    Try the listerine and a fungicide treatment first. If the problem keeps up and it actually is a virus, there isn't much you'll be able to do but dispose of the plant, since there's no practical cure for orchid viral infections.

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    You may already know this, but orchid virus is transmitted by hands, cutting tools used on other plants that haven't been sterilized, re-using dirty pots that haven't been washed and sanitized, or re-using old medium from another (possibly infected) orchid plant.

    If you're a tobacco user, it's vital that you wash and sanitize your hands before doing any kind of dividing or repotting: tobacco mosaic virus on your hands and fingers from handling tobacco will easily and quickly infect orchids through broken roots or cuts.

    Hope you can fix it OT.

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    It is just so weird, I am SO anal about using everything sterile. I use straight edge razors and use one per plant and chuck it out as soon and I finish with a plant. I don't smoke so I have no idea what is going on. I found an image on google what the culprit looks like. It is on my oncidiums. I didn't describe it to good, so let me see if I can post a link:

    http://dpi.qld.gov.au/images/4109.jpg

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    Wow OT, I'm no expert on plant viruses but, if your oncidium's leaves look like that picture, that's what virus looks like on orchid leaves.

    Did you say this was a division from another plant? I would isolate that plant too in case *it* has it, so nothing gets transmitted to your other healthy things.

    There's no treatment or cure either, so you may as well dispose of the thing in the garbage disposal. I'm really sorry.

    And, it may not have been your fault at all, especially if you're that careful. The plant may have gotten virused from the place you got it from, or the place *they* got it from; there's just no telling. And it can get transferred through any tiny opening, even from a plant just rubbing on another one in a breeze and making a little cut.

    I don't know how valuable the plant is to you, but there are labs around that will test for viruses if you send them the plant, so you might want to do that before getting rid of it, just to be sure it's not something less--terminable.

    That's a real shame....

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    also.....

    orchid viruses, to my knowledge, don't kill orchid plants. But they absolutely will deform and "mutilate" the flowers. A few lumps, bumps, or depressed areas on the leaves would be of no concern whatsoever if the blooms weren't also affected. Besides Ludisia and a couple other orchid types grown for their foliage, many an orchid plant in bloom has gotten AOS awards even when the plant's foliage looked like the thing was on its last legs: brown spots, streaks, dead, yellowing, and dying leaves, you name it. All of that is "tolerated" in judging because of the spectacular bloom that plant, with maybe a last burst of energy it's putting out before death, has managed to produce. (Sad, but true...)

    So that's the nastiness about orchid viruses: they really screw up the flowers, making the plant absolutely worthless in terms of what is normally considered "prized."

    I don't particularly feel right advising you to "toss something out" just based on a picture that might look like a virally-infected plant. I've never seen a virused plant personally, have only looked at pictures and read descriptions.

    If you're up to it, take a pic of your plant's leaves and post it (yes, LOL! I'll size it down....) and then send the thing to a lab so that they can say for sure. I'll split the cost with you (which, I understand, is pretty minimal in any case) because I think all of us reading on here can really learn from this. I know I sure can, in any event.

    Let me know if you're interested in going to the trouble...

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    I'll see if my batteries have enough stregnth to take a photo. I think it quite possibley came from the oncidium I purchased at the Orchid Show last month. I hadn't seen a virus IRL either, so I figured the spots were from age or water drying on it. It is a huge tolumnia, probably the size of 5 or 6 plants together. I've been in denial I think. The fleshy leaves gave become paper thin. It has spread to my other oncidiums because ,not knowing I might have an infected plant, I set them all next to eachother when I lined them up for their baths. Quite the lesson learned. The funny thing, even with the leaves deteriorating so fast, the tol. is still bloomimg beautiful flowers. Like you said though, possibally its last leg effort. I have been really sad about this, I take such pride in using sterile equiptment. I called my Mom on the phone and cried about it (yes, I'm a sensitive one ) I was thinking about maybe putting some cut leaves into plastic baggies and see if I can get it tested. Just for piece of mind. There arew so many viruses out there, I have heard they only test for 2 or 3 types. This is such a sad day for Orchid Traci

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    I'm sorry OT....

    If the flowers still look like they did last time the plant bloomed and they're not deformed or have color breaks, it might not be a virus at all.

    You're right, there are lots of different virus types, but the ones most labs test for are the ones that really screw up the plants.

    I can get a list of a few reputable labs for you, or, if you find one you're comfortable with yourself, let me know which one it is and I'll reimburse you half the cost of getting your plant tested.

    It sounds like a good plant; I think it's worth really finding out what the situation is.

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    It is still blooming from new buds since I first purchaced the plant. I'm going to a meeting tonight. I'm thinking about cutting off a leaf, puutting it in a zip lock bag , and bringing it with me. Maybe someone could tell me it is a bug problem or something.

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    Sounds good: there's nothing like seeing something firsthand. Let us know what they think.

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