Genetic variation in natural populations of Citrus tristeza virus (CTV) was studied using haplotypes detected by single-strand conformation polymorphism (SSCP) analysis of two genomic regions (p20 gene and segment A, located in ORF1a). Analysis of 254 samples from 125 trees, collected at 12 different sites, yielded 8 different haplotypes for p20 and 5 for segment A. The most frequent haplotype of p20 was predominant at all sites, but several sites differed in the predominance of segment A haplotypes. At most sites, the homozygosity observed for the p20 gene tended to be higher than expected in a neutral evolution, whereas the opposite was true for segment A. Comparison of the populations at different sites showed that 44 of the 66 possible population pairs were genetically distinct for segment A, but only six pairs differed for the p20 gene. Analysis of molecular variance grouping trees by site, scion variety, rootstock or age, showed that variation in segment A was significantly affected by site, tree age and rootstock, and that variation between trees in each group and within trees was even more important. In contrast, variation in p20 was affected only by site and rootstock, each factor contributing to < 2% of the variation. The data suggest that sequence variations in segment A must be functionally less important and that it has less evolutionary constraints than p20. Detection of different haplotypes in neighbour trees or in samples from the same tree may help explain part of the variability observed in CTV symptom expression.