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Tiny white spots, leaf fungus



I am seeing these white fungus spots on my plants here in Hawaii. Does anyone know what this is? It's not spider mites... I have looked at the leaf undersides w/ microscope and there's no bugs. They start out as tiny spots, then develop. Once developed, it appears they rupture to the underside of the leaf with a dark spec that looks like algae under the microscope.


under the microscope (top of leaf)

under the microscope (bottom of leaf). dark spot is directly underneath the white patches.

the dark spot highly magnified


Well-Known Member
Most fungus can be rubbed off and rarely will it go all the way through the leaf. It might be on the top and bottom but not through it the way an insect will feed and actually eat the plant tissue from above to below.

The first picture is what most cases of Spider Mites look like on the top side of a leaf.

The third picture looks like it is showing an insect of some sort. Probably chewing from the underside of the leaf and eating through the leaf to the top.

If you read a lot of the questions asked on this message board you will should notice that many growers with the same question about small spots do end up realizing that they have Mites. They are hard to see and then realize what they are until we learn what to look for. Find the search function for the message board software and start looking for "spider mites" and skim through the threads for how others have eliminated the problem. Just doing that reading will help keep you ahead of the game.

I figure others will come on-line as the new day starts and see your question. They will be able to help out in identifying the problem and I figure it will come back to insects.


@SmokingWings, I know it *looks* like spider mites, but I'm quite sure it is a growth (fungus), which starts out as very tiny white specs, and then develops. The 2nd photo shows what it looks like developing and growing. The 3rd picture – the dark spot on the underside of the leaf, occurs only after the surface growth has developed enough. This happens the same way on whatever leaf I look at that has been affected. My questions is, can anyone identify this fungus? I have looked high and low online and everyone just says spider mites, but it doesn't fit the profile of spider mites except it mimics the look of it on the leaf surface. I have a microscope and haven't seen any mites.
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UPDATE: Not a fungus! It's a bug... looks like an aphid... don't know which species. Also seeing them in the vegetable garden.

Here's the adult form (black bug w/ wings) sitting on the top of the leaf. They run and hide on the underside of the leaf. They are doing a lot of damage on the young clones, so I have hit them with a solution of neem and peppermint Bronner's soap today.

Close-up of above photo:

Microscope image of the adult:

Microscope image of the nymph:


UPDATE: I have finally identified this bug... it's a garden fleahopper, Halticus bractatus or Microtechnites bractatus.

One website says control with neem, "...multiple applications; eggs are laid inside plant stems so they are protected." Another thing to try is orange oil diluted in water as directed - i.e. food grade d-Limonene - which kills on contact. Also important is to eradicate the bug in surrounding areas if present on weeds and other plants.
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