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Curled Phalaenopsis Leaf

Posted by jmcat 5 (My Page) on
Mon, Jan 25, 10 at 23:34

I'm thinking that this doesn't look like your normal orchid leaf. Any ideas what might cause this? Should I be worried about it or not?


Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Curled Phalaenopsis Leaf

  • Posted by donaldb 5B Worcester, MA (My Page) on
    Tue, Jan 26, 10 at 9:25

You may want to check out this link from the American Orchid Society. It does mention the curling might be a virus:

RE: Curled Phalaenopsis Leaf

Thanks for the link. Would you take this to mean that this plant definitely has a virus, or that it only might have a virus? Also, do the viruses that might be causing this infect plants other than orchids? Mainly, I am interested in knowing whether the following plants could be affected by a virus: amaryllis plants; African violets; pineapples, hens and chicks (Sempervivum); lucky bamboo (Dracaena sanderiana); duckweed (Lemna sp.); airplane plants (Chlorophytum sp.); ivy (Hedera helix); Aloe vera; polka-dot plants (Hypoestes phyllostachya); geraniums; and prayer plants (Maranta sp.).

This plant is not currently in my house, but it may be soon. The story behind it is that someone bought it from a grocery store as an intended gift for a person in my family. I was there when this person was picking out the plant, and I pointed out that the curled leaves were likely a sign of problems, but she did not take this as a real possibility. So, given all of this and also the fact that I already have another Phalaenopsis that seems healthy, do you have any suggestions as to a course of action?
Thanks again,

RE: Curled Phalaenopsis Leaf

Hi Jmcat
I doubt any orchid virus would be incredibly infectious to any of the plants you listed...of the common orchid viruses, I think the only real danger is tobacco mosaic virus, which is infectious in plants of the tomato/eggplant/potato group which none of the plants you listed are in

Anyway, I've never heard of curling as a symptom until today, checked the link and they say 'downward' curling...not sure what that means exactly. I would just tell whoever is the recipient of this gift to keep it away from your orchids. Virus doesn't magically jump from plant to plant, so unless you are in the habit of randomly snipping and cutting your plants with the same set of tools, or your house is infested with insects, it's unlikely that anything will happen. Personally, if this wasn't a financially/emotionally valuable plant, I would tell the original buyer to keep it, thank you very much :)

RE: Curled Phalaenopsis Leaf

Thanks for the info. I think the "downward curling" means that the leaf curls toward the underside, rather than toward the topside of the leaf:

Sort of like this:

Not like this:

The picture I posted originally is of the underside of the leaf, so this would be downward curling.

Another question - even if the other plants I mentioned cannot actually get an orchid virus, would it be possible for them to transfer a virus from this orchid to the one I currently have (if a plant was moved from near this orchid to near the original one)? Or, put differently, how long would these viruses stay viable on plant tissue of a non-host plant?
I suppose I could try your suggestion, but I have this feeling that it's not going to work here. ;)


RE: Curled Phalaenopsis Leaf

I don't think this means anything, certainly not a virus. I've seen leaves like this from time to time, followed by perfectly normal ones. You can reshape the leaf by gently taping it flat against apiece of light cardboard with some velcro tape. It only takes a week or so.

The plant looks healthy to me.

As Calvin says, a virus has to be transferred, sap to sap by something-- a cutting tool, or an insect with piercing mouth parts.

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