Table 5. Reddish/Purplish coloration (anthocyanescent markings) in Plumeria caused by
means other than virus
According to DPV web, the FrMV transmitted by mechanical inoculation not involving a
 FrMV hardly spreads in plumerias especially in the wild probably due to the lack
of natural carrier for this particular virus.  Gaining popularity in the past two decades,
plumeria has been vegetatively propagated in mass for sale.  Many growers did not take
any precautions when taking cuttings or making grafts.  Viral-contaminated cutting tools
used in grafting and pruning become the most common means of FrMV transmission.  
Unfortunately, it is how this particular virus spreads rapidly and covertly in plumerias,
especially in Thailand and recently in the plumerias exported to the US and the rest of the
world.  Nowadays, its symptoms are commonly seen in plumerias which are sold in the
markets in a number of countries.  Some virused plumerias may look normal, but the
symptoms generally appear in a later stage.  Thus it is important to address this issue to
increase growers' awareness, to keep the virus under control, and to save all great
plumeria cultivars from being infected.

In an attempt to keep the whole plumeria collection virus-free, newly acquired plumerias
first should be isolated over a period of time to observe or check (test) for the presence
of virus.  All FrMV-infected plants should be separated from the rest of collection and/or
destroyed.  Using a sterilized cutting tool is also the key to preventing the spread of the
FrMV, which may be present in the plumeria trees growing in the garden, to the rest of
the collection.  My routine practice of pruning plumerias in the garden is to carry as many
sterilized knives as possible with me and use only one knife per plumeria plant.  They are
then sterilized in boiling water for further use.

Plumerias with the virus should not be allowed to be registered as a new cultivar based
upon its appearance of the flowers with the color break.  It is just a diseased plant, not an
innovative one.
Based upon field/laboratory tests and observation of infected plumeria plants from
various places for a number of years, it comes into a conclusion that Frangipani Mosaic
Virus has a minimal effect on the growth and the health of most plumerias with the
exception of severe cases in a few cultivars.  Its symptoms may include, e.g., leaf
malformation, mottled leaf, and/or splash or color break (CB), especially on the petals.  
Some plumeria trees appear normal with only an occasional CB on the petals, which is
attractive to some people.  From my point of view, however, the color break is
unacceptable since it distorts the original colors of flowers.  In addition, unlike other
diseases, it is incurable, and the virus that resides in the infected plant may accidently
spread to other plumeria trees somehow, and finally, the whole collection may all be
Viruses are one of infectious pathogens.  Like other plants, plumerias can be infested
with viruses.   The particular types of viruses such as Frangipani Mosaic virus (FrMV)
found in infested plumeria may cause discolorations and/or distortions in leaves and
flowers and stunt the plant growth.  The symptoms are highly variable, depending
on the variety and the environment.  Knowing the nature of FrMV (especially viral
transmission) as well as using precaution when handling the plants are the key steps in
preventing it from spreading.  FrMV and its symptoms found in plumeria in Thailand are
emphasized on this page.  Coloration markings caused by FrMV and by other means are
also mentioned here.
Chompoo Paan plumeria
Plumeria Virus
Rim Fire plumeria Bali Whirl plumeria
Color break (red splash areas) on petals of Rim Fire (left
picture) and Bali Whirl plumerias (right picture) caused by
The symptoms on the petals develop as the flowers
 Seedlings of the virus infected Rim Fire have no
sign of virus.
Muang Phuang Roi plumeria An unknown very light pink plumeria
Left picture: Color break (darker purple area) on petals of
Muang Phuang Roi plumeria caused by virus.

Right picture: Color break (pink area) on petals of very
light pink flowers.
Coral Cream plumeria
Left picture: Symptoms (dark red spots) on petioles and
stems of Coral Cream plumeria caused by virus.  Notice:

The reddish/purplish areas within the context of normal

Right picture: A severe leaf malformation and mottled leaves
in a Thai plumeria caused by virus.  For this particular case,
it stunts the growth of the plant.
New emerging leaf with viral symptom Mature leaf with viral symptom
Mottled/splotchy leaves caused by virus.  Normally
symptoms develop right from the start as new leaves emerge

(left picture).  Then they become lighter in color with leaf
age (right picture).
An unknown variegated plumeria Namwan plumeria
Left picture: This variegated foliage (light/dark green) is a
form of Chimera.  But the dark brown mottled areas on
the leaf indicted that it is infected with virus.
Right picture: Namwan--a chimeric variegated plumeria
(green on light pink background) often found to be
infected with virus (brown spots throughout the entire

Left and right pictures: Viral symptoms (unknown

Left picture: Viral symptom (unknown cultivar)

Right picture: Viral symptom (Moung Phoung Roi

Left picture: Viral symptom (Kled Tabtim plumeria)

Right picture: Viral symptom (Moung Dao Den plumeria)

Left picture: Viral symptom (Roung Siri Chok plumeria)

Right picture: Viral symptom (Dwarf Singapore Pink
plumeria)  Note: Reddening/purpling spots in the picture
are not viral symptom.
Symptoms of virus on newly emerging leaves in
bud-grafted plumerias (left and right pictures).  The scion
used was a bud from a virused plant while the root stock
was an one year old seedling.
One of the most commonly seen cultivars infected with FMV.
Over five inches, heavy textured petal flower
Kukiat's Gardens
Table 1. Symptoms in Plumeria (flower, leaf and petiole) caused by Virus
Note: FrMV Splashes is due to the over accumulation of anthocyanin pigments in flower petal and/or leaf of virused plumerias.
Figure 2. The original color of virus-free
Vishanu Gold
Figure 1. Vishanu Gold infected with FrMV

*FrMV is transmitted primarily through cutting or trimming the plants.  Contact of the infected
plant's sap with sap of a healthy plant will infect the new plant.  This can happen whenever cuts
are made and the cutting/grafting tools or hands are not disinfected afterwards.  After infection
with a virus, the virus particles reproduce and move within plant via phloem as well as from
infected cells into neighboring cells, and finally colonize an entire plant (except for meristem).  The
first sign of symptom in plant may take months or years to appear (depending upon plumeria
cultivar, and plant's and environmental conditions).

FrMV resides in infected plant throughout the plant's life.  The disease is incurable.  Cuttings
taken from an infected plant are infected even if no symptoms are immediately exhibited by the
cuttings.  The only area in the infected plant that virus can not enter is meristem.  Meristem-tip
culture may be applied to get a new plant with free of virus.

FrMV does not transmit through seed, resulting in absence of virus in seedling.  Like all
plumerias, the seedling can be infected with FrMV at any age with poor cultural and sanitation

Favorable conditions:

*Extreme heat can put a lot of stress on plant and provides favorable condition for FrMV residing
in the plant to grow.  FrMV is more active and replicates quickly at HIGH temperature (best at
30-35C or 86-95F).  It is the VIRUS (not HEAT) that is responsible for these unique viral symptoms
in virused plumeria plant.
 The other words, only virused plant subjected to heat stress exhibits viral
symptom, but the non-virused plant never ever does.

Grafting (especially bud grafting) is another factor that causes a lot of stress on plant.  If either
rootststock or scion used in grafting is from virused plant(s), the entire graft is infected.  The viral
symptom likely appears on emerging leaves of the newly grafted plant.  Again, it is the VIRUS (not
GRAFTING) that is responsible for the viral symptom on the leaves.


*FrMV replication causes a change in color pattern of pigmented flower/leaf by intensification and
overaccumulation of epidermal anthocyanin pigments in the petals/leaves (anthocyanescene).
Anthocyanescence is the development of reddish/purplish hues within the context of normal coloration by the
accumulation of anthocyanin.)

*Looks for the virus lesions on a newly emerging leaf and flower.  These are where the symptoms
first reveal themselves (before evolving further with leaf or flower age) and are a strong indication
of FrMV evidence.

*FrMV affects different plumeria cultivars/species in different ways, so it is impossible to give a
definitive description of symptoms.  Besides plumeria cultivars, the symptoms may vary with plant's
parts (e.g. flower, leaf, petiole and etc.) and viral strains and environmental conditions.  Yet there
are some common characteristics among infected plants; including irregular mottled/splotchy
markings or dark striations of various sizes and shapes on the leaves, and dark red/moroon splashes
(color breaks) of various forms and size unevenly/unpredictably distributed on the flower petals and
non-consistent patterns from flower to flower (Table 1 and 2).

Depending on how people view it, the color breaks on flower petals may look like a "dark
red/maroon paint splatter" in painted pictures or "blood splatter" at a crime scene in J105
plumeria cultivar, or "blood or red paint bleeds" in watercolor in Bali Whirl cultivar.  Unlike
flowers, leaves can stay on the tree for a longer time; therefore, the viral mottled markings or the
dark striations may change in size, color and shape as the symptom progresses into surrounding
tissue of the leaves.

*Infection does not always result in visible symptoms at all time.  In case of having visible
symptoms, they may exhibit only on either flowers or leaves or disply on both flowers and leaves at
the same time.  In case of Plumerias (eg. P. alba) with pure white flowers (no anthocyanin
pigment), the symptom only appears on leaves.

*FrMV does not kill plumeria plant.  Most virused plumerias are apparently normal with symptoms
occasionally appear on flower and/or leaf.  Some cultivars may frequently (or hardly) exhibit
symptoms especially the color breaks on flower petals.  However, the growth of a few cultivars may
severely impaired by FrMV infection.
Viral Symptom
Viral Symptom
No Viral Symptom
Cultivar names
Under construction
Under construction
Phoung Yok
Dwarf Singapore
Under construction
JL Metallica
Under construction
Rim Fire
Bali Whirl
Under construction
Lava Flow
My Valentine
Vishanu Gold
Under construction
Veracruz Rose
Under construction
Note: Red coloring at
the center is natural
splash (column 3).
Under construction
Puddha Raksa
Note: Red coloring
seen on each petals
are natural splash
(column 3).
Some plumeria cultivars (such as Miracle, Fire Blast and Gammaam) have flowers with
natural splash.  Some other cultivars (such as
Madame Poni and Puddha Raksa) may have
natural incurved petals in which anthocyanins tend to overaccumulate (anthocyanescence)
within the incurved area.  Unlike FrMV causing splashes, these natural splashes on petals
always locate at about the same place and their patterns are consistant from petal to petal
and flower to flower regardless of the degree of petal incurving (Figures 3 and 4, Table 3).  
The anthocyanescent markings of these natural splashes may be sometimes confused with
those caused by FrMV.   In FrMV infected plumerias, both FrMV splash and natural splash
may appear on petals of the same flower at the same time, and sometimes are hard to
differentiate one from another (Figure 5 and Table 4).  In contrast to natural splash, FrMV
splash patterns are non-consistant from petal to petal and flower to flower.  Splash which
locates beyond the boundery of natural splash is likely due to FrMV or something else.  
Viral splash appears to be significantly darker in color (dark red/maroon) due to the
overaccumulation of anthocyanin pigments (anthocyanescene) in the presence and high
activity of virus in such areas (Figure 5 and Table 4).  In plumeria plants, high intensity light
during warm and dry summer days plays an important role in intentifying or darkening the
overall flower colors including the colors of both natural and viral splashes due to the
increase in anthocyanin biosynthesis rate.
Flowers with intense colored
natural splash within incurved
Flowers (with less degree of
petal incurving) with less
natural splash located at
the same area
Flowers (with little (or no)
degree of incurving) with little
or no
natural splash color
located at same area
Cultivar names
Madame Poni
(twisted and incurved
Sangria Stripe
(twisted and incurved
Kimi seedling#28
(twisted and incurved
Purple Serendipity
(loosely incurved petals)
(partially twisted and
(loosely incurved)
Unnamed cultivar
(partially incurved petals)
(only at the petal tip)
Reddening/purpling coloration: Fungus

Reddish coloration in association with unidentified pathogenic fungus
on an unknown and Slaughter Pink plumeria flowers
Reddening/purpling coloration: Fungus

Reddish spots in association with unidentified pathogenic fungus on
aging plumeria flowers
Under construction
Reddening/purpling spots: Chemicals and sunlight

Reddish spots developped on a flower of Pink Pancy plumeria after
being sprayed with insecticides (Chlorpyrifos and imidacloprid) and
being exposed to a day of direct summer sunlight.
Reddening/Purpling coloration: High light-intensity

High light-intensity during hot summer months stipulates anthocyanin
biosynthesis.  Anthocyanin pigments are produced in the stems and
leaves of the sun shoots (left picture). These red pigments help to
protect the chlorophyll from excess ultra-violet radiation.  The increase
in anthocyanin pigments under this condition also resulted in
darkening the colors of plumeria flowers.
Reddening/Purpling coloration: Senescence

It is common for the cultivars with high anthocyanin content to
develop reddish/purplish markings on leaves.  They start to appear on
leaves at young stage but almost fully extended (Top and bottom left
pictures), and become more intense in color when fully mature (Top
and bottom right). (note: Orange pustules are Frangipani rust.)

Entering the senescence stage, the coloration appears on leaves of
some plumeria cultivars late in the season (when daylight hours shorten
and temperatures drop) before heading into dormancy in winter.
*Continue on next row....
*continued from the row above...
Reddening/Purpling coloration: Anthocyanescence + fungus infestation
After the anthocyanescent markings being formed, lesions may later
develop within the boundary of these markings, and turn brown with
leaf age.  The lesions may be in association with fungus infestation.

Left/Middle: Early signs of lesions within anthocyanescent markings on
underside and can be seen on the opposite side (upperside) of leaf
(Heart of the Night plumeria).

Top right: Lesions within anthocyanescent markings on underside
Bottom right: The opposite site (upperside) of the same leaf
Reddening/purpling coloration being formed after having lesions:

The circular lesions of unknown cause (Top left) may develop on the
underside of very young leaves and turn brown as the leaf matures
(Top right).  Purplish coloration around the lesions on the upperside
develops at a later stage (Bottom right) (Edelstein plumeria).

Top left: Circular lesions on underside of very young leaf
Bottom left: No purplish coloration on the opposite side (upperside) of
the same young leaf
Top right: Brown circular lesions on underside of mature leaf
Bottom right: Lesions with purplish coloration on the opposite side
(upperside) of the same mature leaf
Atypical reddish/purplish coloration associated with Frangipani rust

With time, the areas infested with frangipani rust pustules turn into
brown lesions (Top left and Right pictures) which can be seen on the
upperside of leaf (Bottom left picture).  Atypical reddish/purplish
coloration may deveolop around the tissues in association with the sites
of infection and disease lesions. (Bottom left and right pictures)
Reddening/purpling in association with lesion caused by Broad mite:

Anthocyanin biosysthesis is stimulated by broad mite injury.  As a
result, the dark red/maroon colored pigments of anthocyanin
accumulate in the infected areas of distorted/curled leaves.  This
coloration phenomenan mostly happens only in plumerias with leaves
that are rich in anthocyanin like Doric, Marble Ice Cream and etc.
Note: This may be sometimes confused with the coloration caused by
FrMV in virused plant.  (For the case of FrMV symptom in plumeria,
the leaves hardly curl or twist).
Under construction
Atypical reddish/purplish coloration associated with Powdery mildew
Under construction
drought/strong sunlight/nutritional deficiencies/plant abnormalities
FrMV and Symptoms in Plumeria
Table 2. Unique Symptoms caused by Virus in some Plumeria Cultivars
Note: FrMV splashes vary in appearance and unevenly exhibit on flower petals and/or leaves, and have non-consistant pattern
from flower to flower (and leaf to leaf).
Table 3. Coloration and forms of Natural splashes in plumeria flowers
*Notice natural spashes with consistant patterns from petal to petal and flower to flower
Figure 3. Natural Splash in Madame Poni plumeria -
Anthocyanescent markings within incurved area and
consistant pattern from flower to flower.
Figure 4. Natural splash in Purple Serendipity plumeria
- Sometimes its flowers may form loosely incurved petals
with (natural) splash within the incurved area.  As
shown in this picture, the natural splashes that appear
on petals are always at the same location in all flowers
and have consistant pattern from flower to flower.
Sometimes other factors can cause symptoms similar to those caused by viruses.
Reddish/purplish coloration (due to anthocyanin biosynthesis) found in plumerias is a
common plant response (generally associated with plant's physiological functions) to a
wide array of stress factors.  Some of these factors are extreme environment (drought,
heat/sunlight or UV-B radiation), nutritional deficiencies/excesses, plant abnormalities,
chemicals, insect feeding, plant pathogens (including virus), wounding and etc. (Table 5).  
Their anthocyanescent markings differ in form and shape and sometimes may be confused
with natural splashes (Table 3) and those caused by FrMV (Table 2 and 4).  Most of the
time, virus diseases cannot be diagnosed on the basis of symptoms alone.
Virus causing Color Break in Plumeria in Thailand
Figure 5. Natural and Viral Splashes in Miracle plumeria -
Natural splash:
the lighter red bans locate on left side part of
each petal and its pattern is consistant from flower to flower.
Viral splash: the dark red-maroon splashing, and the
non-consistent patterns from petal to petal and flower to flower.
Natural Splash vs Viral Splash
Splashes caused by other means
Viral and Natural splashes
*Virus splash: dark
red/maroon splashing and
non-consistant pattern from
flower to flower.
Natural Splash (no viral splash)
*Natural splash: consistent
patterns from flower to flower.
Cultivar names
Table 4. Natural splashes and Viral Splash appear on the same flower
******Click to enlarge the images -- Arrow signs indicated the location(s) of viral splashes
*Click the image to enlarge - Arrow signs are the
locations of viral splash (dark red/maroon)