Asked September 10, 2014, 7:22 PM EDT

I have a 30 minute window at the end of each day wherein the lighting permits me to observe plants 'spitting'. Can you tell me what this phenomena is called? kind regards, Kevin Gillette Irvine, CA 888-866-3377 x122


1 Response

This appears to be honeydew coming from small leaf-feeding insects -- most likely aphids on the bottoms of the leaves. When an aphid feeds it sticks its feeding tube (stylet) into the leaf and liquid from the leaf enters the aphid. The liquid is water with some sugar in it. It passes through the aphid, the aphid takes some of the sugar as it does, and then the remainder leaves the aphid's rear end and rains down as small droplets. If you stand under a tree that has a lot of aphids you can see it if the sun is right and you also can sometimes feel it. It will coat things that are under it with a shiny, sticky substance. The liquid is called honeydew because it is sweet.