Monday, September 7, 2009

Short and Sweet -- Aster Yellows

Last year I had an infestation of aster yellows in my front garden on the Echinacea, purple coneflowers. The recommendation is to remove the infected plants. I thought I had, though I found another plant this season infected with it.

Some think it is not a big problem but this disease is spread by leafhoppers. It can infect crops such as onions, celery, tomato, carrots as well as many ornamentals including coneflowers and marigolds. Listed here and here are some extension sites that go into more detail. Another good site is MOBOT's IPM site.
My first thought last year was that I had a mutation, nope- infection. Best advice-- removal!


  1. Interesting Janet. I would think Aster "yellows" is all about yellowing foliage. From seeing your photo, I would also think it was a mutation and that maybe there is money involved. Patents, royalties and notoriety. LOL

    I hope it doesn't spread.

  2. Hey there, Janet, it's funny but I think that Grace is on to something. Coconut Lime Echinacea makes me see virus when I look at it! I do pull them out, but they seem to return. Sigh.gail

  3. I've had this too. Both last year and this year. I did remove the offending plants but still it comes and is pretty weird.

  4. Hi Janet, you are wise to pull them. It can take several years to get them all out. I ended up moving the echinaceas to another area. Also plantain and dandelions are carriers for the leafhoppers. So much for letting the weeds hang around for the pollinators. Good luck with the battle! :-)

  5. That is strange, I've never seen that before. I have seen way more leafhoppers than usual this year, hope they aren't spreading anything around here :)

  6. I've had my coneflowers have weird looking flower heads several times. Not exactly like what you show here, but similar. They appear to just have a green cluster with no flower petals. Yet some flowers are normal.

    Thanks for bringing this to our attention!

  7. So sorry, Janet. I hope you can get it under control. I know you must be discouraged that it came back again.

  8. Hi Grace, I know what you mean, the name is a little confusing. Patenting the strange growth would be interesting! ;-)

    Hi Gail, I thought the same about the Coconut Lime....makes one wonder.

    Hi Tina, I guess there are infected plants nearby that reinfect your garden.

    Hi Frances, I imagine with insects (leafhoppers) spreading the disease it will take a while to get it out of your area.

    Hi Catherine, Until last year I had never seen it before. Keep your eyes open!

    Hi Kylee, I wonder if yours was aster yellows? If my pictures are not exactly like yours, check the links I have at the bottom of the post-- there are more photos.

    Hi Diana, I was surprised to see it back, thought I had checked earlier in the season.

  9. I think Frances posted about this not long ago too and I thank you for the reminder. I need to check mine for any abnormalities. I wouldn't have thought anything was wrong (but rather just a mutation) before learning about it from you both.

  10. ewww. I don't like that at all, freaky. I'm glad that has never shown up in my garden. Of course, that would be one thing the deer would probably leave alone!

  11. Hi Kathleen, good to see you back online....last summer I did some research in the extension office with this disease. I thought it was a strange mutation.

    Hi Susie Q, it is kind of weird. Right, the deer know it isn't good to eat.

  12. Hi Janet. Bummer it's an infection you have to remove. It's kind of cool looking. I'm glad you pointed it out, if I saw that on one of my plants and didn't know better, I would have thought it was just extra fancy.

  13. Hi Megan,at least we know that it is an infection and can deal with it!


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