I'm Frank McDonough, Botanical Information Consultant here at the Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden. My job is to answer your questions about plants and just about everything related to them.
Friday, February 7, 2014
Fugly Tumorous Ball Found on Aloe
Fugly Tumorous Ball -What is It?
Sometimes nature throws us a curve ball, and sometimes it can literally look like a ball -a ball of pure 100% ugly. Such is the case with this wild looking tumorous mass of tissue found growing on an aloe plant here. Turns out it's the end result of an infestation of a mite, Aceria aloinis, which injects a hormone like compound into the aloe that causes it to grown in a deformed manner. This is good for the mite because it can hide from predators in these convoluted growths, and in addition they are protected from most 'natural' insect sprays like soap and horticultural oil because the sprays cannot penetrate into these twisted masses of plant material. I'll be working to control this monster (actually the mite is no larger then a couple hundredths of an inch) in the coming month so I'll report back to you on what works for it.