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What are These Tiny Opaque Dots on The Again of Cissus amazonica?

Oh, no! What are these tiny opaque dots on the again of my Cissus amazonica? Does it have bugs?! 

Oh no! What’s incorrect with my plant?

First Response

My first response was bugs after all, till I seemed nearer. I used to be instantly indignant, considering this newer plant had bugs from the greenhouse. You could assume so, too if you first see these small dots on the again of your plant. You could even attain for some kind of bug killer whether or not or not it’s insecticidal cleaning soap or insecticide. However, earlier than you do, let’s look a bit nearer at these small dots. 

NOT Bugs

You’ll be completely satisfied to know these aren’t bugs however are cystoliths. Cysto-what? Cystoliths. What are these? I’ll be sincere. I’m nonetheless not precisely certain what they’re or what they do, however I do know they aren’t bugs. They’re calcium carbonate crystals on cell partitions within the dermis of the plant. I did learn that calcium carbonate CaCO3, can be present in limestone, eggshells, and pearls. Fascinating, proper? Right here is an article with extra technical data for the inquiring minds right here. I’m not a scientist, however it’s attention-grabbing. 

Leaf fronts

The cystoliths don’t seem on the entrance of the C. amazonica leaves, however solely on the backs. 

Different Members of the Household

I’ve each Cissus rhombifolia and C. rhombifolia ‘Ellen Danica’, as nicely (beneath) and neither of these has the cystoliths on the leaves. Although they are often on different vegetation within the Vitaceae household, they aren’t on these two kin. Why on some and never on others? I don’t know. 

Different Plant Households with Cystoliths

Cystoliths additionally seem in different plant households, together with Urticaceae (nettle), Ulmaceae (elm), Acanthaceae (acanthus), Cucurbitaceae (gourd), and the Moraceae (fig/mulberry) household which incorporates figs and rubber timber. My Ficus elastica ‘Burgundy’ and F. elastica ‘Tineke’, and the Ficus benghalensis ‘Audrey’ beneath all have cystoliths current. I did take a look at my different ficus vegetation and I didn’t see any on the fiddle leaf, Ficus lyrata, Ficus benjamina, or my variegated Ficus maclellandii ‘Alii’. They might be there however aren’t as apparent as those on the rubber vegetation. The rubber timber do have a lot thicker leaves and so perhaps that has one thing to do with it….? I additionally learn that these cystoliths scatter the sunshine round contained in the cells of those vegetation, as nicely.  

Ficus 'Audrey'

Ficus benghalensis ‘Audrey’

The fiddle leaf fig beneath doesn’t present any indicators of cystoliths. 

Fiddle leaf fig

Fiddle leaf fig

The Level Is…..

The purpose of this weblog put up is to point out you that some issues aren’t as they appear. Although these small dots appear to be bugs, they aren’t and you don’t have anything to fret about as they’re a pure a part of the leaves. I hope you are feeling higher now should you’ve observed these small dots in your vegetation’ leaves and panicked as I did. 

Have an awesome week, plant associates!



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