Rhaphidophora tests negative for viruses

23 Nov 2021

Houseplant forums were abuzz during the winter months about the spontaneous development of variegation in Rhaphidophora tetrasperma (or Mini Monstera / Philodendron Minima).

Some commented that the striped leaf patterning was down to virus infection rather than variegation and suggested the agent could be Monstera mosaic virus.
Leaf samples from an Auckland specimen and one in Wellington were sent independently to MPI’s Plant Health & Environment Laboratory and both tested negative for any viruses.
Peter Tayler of Rainbow Park Nurseries thinks the patterning is a physiological symptom, caused by lower light levels and cooler temperatures through the winter months. Rhaphidophora tetrasperma is quite a new houseplant in New Zealand, having been around only since the year 2020, so this is the first year that many houseplant owners will have noticed these winter symptoms.
The Wellington test plant is now producing new leaves of normal colouration.  





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