Friday, February 09, 2007

Double Feature Creature Show

Hibiscus has been having a lot of bad hair days in Hawaii in the last several years. It seems every new pest that arrives has a fondness for this most common of shrubs. Breeders have engorged the flowers to outlandish sizes and created freakish colors that appeal to the American Psyche and a Pavlovian demand for color in the landscape. Everyone has to have them despite the constant battle with the bugs.

Huge flowers are not the only thing that can pop up on Hibiscus. The nymphs of our newest whitefly species are oval-shaped and produce an abundance of long, white, waxy filamentous material which can cover the leaf and be observed from afar. Or it can be observed up close and personal.

It would not surprise me in the least if someone some where is trying to breed a plant that comes naturally with a long fur coat. Once that is accomplished then they can start working on new colors.


Annie in Austin said...

A similar, bobbed-hair length version of this infestation is one reason my hibiscus stayed outside to take its chances with winter weather. In spite of washings and leaf removal the white stuff had spread to a few nearby plants. It only seemed to attack plants with large, flat thin leaves like the hibiscus.
But yours is a lot creepier!


Annie at the Transplantable Rose.

Christopher C. in Hawaii said...

It is really creepy when it takes over whole hedges.

chuck b. said...


Christopher C. in Hawaii said...

I had to wipe away the spider webs that encased this whole scene in another layer of white strands Chuck to be able to photograph the whitefly ick.

Pam/Digging said...

Ewww. That's about as gross as the tent-worm infestations on pecan trees here in Austin.