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host plants
Sweet orange tree infected by Spiroplasma citri (left), causal agent of stubborn, showing stunting as compared to the healthy tree (right). Note the rounded shape of the infected tree.
Author: J.M. Bové, INRA Centre de Recherches de Bordeaux
Source: IPM Images


The genus Spiroplasma contains bacteria-like organisms which have no cell wall, are motile and have a helical shape. They are frequently associated with insects or ticks but some are also found in plants and several are pathogens causing stunting and yellows diseases.

The plant pathogenic forms (but not the insect forms) can be cultured on artifical media. The most important plant pathogens cause the citrus stubborn and the corn stunt diseases.

The spiroplasmas are classified under the Mollicutes which includes forms like the phytoplasmas but also the mycoplasmas which can cause diseases in vertebrates.

The following diseases are currently entered in the system: