Electron microscopy of ultrathin sections of leaves of symptomless Himalaya Giant blackberry and of the virus indicator species, Rubus macraei, showing severe leaf curl symptoms following graft inoculation with scions from this blackberry, detected highly flexuous virus-like particles with an unusual 'beaded' structure. Such particles were restricted to a few vascular cells and were distinct from P-protein common in some such cells. This virus, provisionally named Hawaiian rubus leaf curl virus (HRLCV), symptomlessly infected a wide range of Rubus species and cultivars. Badnavirus-like bacilliform particles were observed in some cells of a single R. macraei plant showing leaf curl symptoms following graft inoculation with the causal agent of this disease symptom from Himalaya Giant blackberry after passage through red raspberry, but not in any other material. PCR with primer sets for the badnaviruses Rubus yellow net virus and gooseberry veinbanding associated virus, showed that no Rubus sources studied contained these viruses. However, using a sequence-specific primer set designed from the sequence of the product generated with a badnavirus degenerate primer set, a specific product was amplified from healthy plants of all of 16 raspberry cultivars and two Rubus species, but not from 16 blackberry cultivars (including cv. Himalaya Giant). All of these sources were free from viruses known to occur in Rubus. Sequence analysis of this product showed no homology with any known badnavirus, or with any other published sequences. It seems most likely therefore that a region of the raspberry genome has been amplified using the degenerate badnavirus primer set and that it is absent from the blackberry genome.