Systemic invasion of plants by viruses is thought to involve two processes: cell-to-cell movement between adjacent cells and long-distance movement that allows the virus to rapidly move through sieve elements and unload at the growing parts of the plant. There is a continuum of proportions of these processes that determines the degrees of systemic infection of different plants by different viruses. We examined the systemic distribution of Citrus tristeza virus (CTV) in citrus species with a range of susceptibilities. By using a "pure" culture of CTV from a cDNA clone and green fluorescent protein-labeled virus we show that both cell-to-cell and long-distance movement are unusually limited, and the degree of limitation varies depending on the citrus host. In the more-susceptible hosts CTV infected only a small portion of phloem-associated cells, and moreover, the number of infection sites in less-susceptible citrus species was substantially decreased further, indicating that long-distance movement was reduced in those hosts. Analysis of infection foci in the two most differential citrus species, Citrus macrophylla and sour orange, revealed that in the more-susceptible host the infection foci were composed of a cluster of multiple cells, while in the less-susceptible host infection foci were usually single cells, suggesting that essentially no cell-to-cell movement occurred in the latter host. Thus, CTV in sour orange represents a pattern of systemic infection in which the virus appears to function with only the long-distance movement mechanism, yet is able to survive in nature.