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Rose Rosette Disease in California
Kristen Farrar, FPS Communications Specialist

Spread of rose rosette disease (RRD), caused by rose rosette virus (RRV), is causing major damage to the nation's rose industry. Typical symptoms of RRD include abnormal reddening of leaves and stems, unusual and rubbery thorns, excessive thorniness, deformed leaves, and multiple stems growing out of one node, causing a bunching effect. The first report of the virus affecting cultivated rose species was in the 1970s, but RRV did not become a significant pathogen on commercial roses until the 1990s. Since the viral pathogen is carried by tiny windblown mites, early detection and removal of infected roses is the best way to reduce the  impact of this disease. If an infected rose is not removed, mites will spread the virus to nearby roses and beyond. RRD has been devasting to roses and the rose industry east of the Rockies.

Recently, RRV was detected from two rose plants at a commercial nursery in Wasco as well as three garden roses planted in two neighboring homes, in Bakersfield, California. To our knowledge, this is the first report of RRV associated with rose rosette disease affecting roses in California. Based on these findings, FPS is taking all the necessary measures to reduce the risk of introducing RRV to the FPS collections. FPS is not accepting introduction of material from sources in which RRD is known to occur.

If you see symptoms similar to those described here, please contact your local University of California’s Cooperative Extension county office.

Read the “First Report of Rose rosette virus Associated with Rose Rosette Disease Affecting Roses in California” accepted for publication in Plant Disease.

For more information about RRD, visit the Combating Rose Rosette Facebook page and the Rose Rosette website.


Bakersfield homeowner's garden rose (unknown cultivar) positive for RRV.


Stem from commercial nursery rose plant (Brilliant Pink Iceberg) positive for RRV.


RRV positive commercial nursery rose plant (Veteran's Honor).