R-CMV, a subgroup II strain of cucumber mosaic cucumovirus (CMV) induces a very strong stunting response in Nicotiana glutinosa plants, while Trk7-CMV causes green mosaic in this host. The genetic determinant of this phenotype was mapped to a 534-nucleotide region at the 3′ end of RNA3 with biologically active, full-length cDNA clones of R-CMV and Trk7-CMV and RNA3 chimeras of the two strains. Within this region, R-CMV differs from Trk7-CMV by a single amino acid at position 193 in the coat protein. Changing the codon for Lys at this position to Asn or Ser, by site-directed mutagenesis, also changed the phenotype of the viruses from green mosaic to induction of stunting. Profound differences in both the spread and the accumulation of the viruses causing stunting and green mosaic were observed, although these did not correlate with the host specificity of stunting. Since expression of R-CMV coat protein with the PVX vector did not cause stunting, the data suggest that the presence of other CMV components is necessary for the induction of this symptom.