Peanut stunt virus

Peanut stunt virus may cause disease in peanut, tobacco, clover, soybean and snapbean. This relatively new virus was first found in Virginia and North Carolina in 1964, when it caused severe loss in crop yield and value. Following early infection, a plant may never grow beyond a few inches in height and width.

Leaves from plants infected with peanut stunt virus are malformed and curl up at the edges. Infected leaves may be paler green and/or yellowed.

The fruit of plants infected with the virus is frequently small, malformed and the shells are commonly split open to expose seed. Infected peanut seed do not play a role in the spread of the disease, since only seed too small for planting are infected at a high enough rate to act as a source of infection. The virus can overwinter in wild or forage legumes (clovers, alfalfa, lespedeza, etc.) and then spread to other crops in the spring by aphids that carry the virus in their mouthparts after feeding on infected plants. Peanut yield and value are reduced by peanut stunt virus because of a decrease in numbers of fancy pods, extra large kernels, and sound mature kernels.