Rent Shop Volunteer Join

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
2 ratings

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

 

 

More Diseases and Disorders Questions

Suffering Yaupon in Austin
July 14, 2012 - I am in the Austin area and I planted a Pride of Houston Yaupon in my back yard in March. It is in full sun. Lately the leaves have been turning pale green and now they fall off the tree upon touchi...
view the full question and answer

Non-native red-tip photinias dying in San Antonio
August 20, 2009 - A 17 year old Red tip Photinia in a hedge shows signs of dying. The main stalks are quite large and offshoots from two of the stalks have brittle, drooping leaves. The center of the plant looks norm...
view the full question and answer

Juniper-apple rust galls
April 24, 2010 - I have Red Cedar trees in my yard. I have just noticed something that looks like a reddish brown squid-like bloom about the size of a small orange. Is this normal or is it a fungus?
view the full question and answer

Tulip trees losing bark in OH
July 11, 2011 - We have two tulip trees in our yard that are losing their bark at the base of the trunk. I am careful with the mower keeping away from the tree when I mow. What could the problem be and what can I d...
view the full question and answer

Controlling mildew on Gaillarida sp.
August 11, 2005 - Any suggestions for controlling mildew on blanket flower? It's spreading throughout my garden.
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.