Anemone Shaped Growth on Hibiscus Leaves

Asked November 15, 2019, 10:59 AM EST

My tropical hibiscus has a few distorted leaves. It is the first year that I took it outside for the summer. I saw some small white shapes on the undersides. I originally assumed it would be spider mites but when I put it under the microscope, I saw 6-pointed sea anemone-shaped bodies coming out of stomata. They mainly follow the veins of the leaf. I thought I might have seen one with a stem in the middle, almost like a fungus. Some have thin filaments connecting to the next growth. Do you have any idea what this is? I couldn't find anything that matches this on my own.

Washtenaw County Michigan

1 Response

The growth on the leaf are called trichomes and often cluster and appear on hibiscus in this form. Trichomes often are found along the veins. Deformed leaves are commonly due to damage that occurred as the leaf was developing. Cells damaged by insects or mites in spring do not expand as do the surrounding undamaged cells, resulting in deformed leaf shape and often puckering. The good news is that the green leaf continued to function. Since it was outside this year I would continue to inspect the underside of leaves for mites and other insects.