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Mr. Smarty Plants - Round growths on Mexican buckeye

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Monday - April 28, 2008

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Diseases and Disorders
Title: Round growths on Mexican buckeye
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I have two pink buckeyes next to each other in my yard. The branches on one are completely covered in brown, round growths about the size of a pill bug. The other tree has none. Can you tell me what they are and if its a problem for the tree?

ANSWER:

I am supposing your trees are Ungnadia speciosa (Mexican buckeyes), but I haven't been able to find any pests or diseases that are associated with this species. In fact, Florida Cooperative Extension Service says "No pests or diseases are of major concern." However, the growths on your one tree sound like galls. Although they can be caused by fungi, nematodes and bacteria, they are most commonly caused by insects. The female insect lays its egg on the plant and the plant, usually a tree, reacts by producing a growth around the egg that isolates it. The insect larvae that hatches from the egg grows by feeding on the substance of the gall and then chewing its way out to continue its life.

Although they may be unsightly, galls are not considered seriously harmful to the tree. Using insecticides for controlling the insects after the galls have been formed is not effective since the pests are protected inside the gall.

It is interesting that one tree has galls and the other hasn't.


Ungnadia speciosa

Ungnadia speciosa

 

 

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