I've looked at other questions and I'm quite sure the plant outside my house has a scale problem. But I don't know much about gardening so I'd like some advice please. I found these other questions with photos that look similar:

These are my main questions:

  1. What is the plant?
  2. What are the things on it?
  3. Can you guess how long the plant might have been like this?

To be honest I've not really paid much attention to the plant, I rent the house so I only need to keep the garden generally maintained. I found another website that suggested if it's a type of scale they could increase over months. Most of the branches I cut off were covered in them and I filled 2 average sized bin bags of cuttings.

After the first image the others of the plant are of parts I cut off. It was only half way through trimming the plant back when I noticed the things on it.

The second image below show more of the white things. The third image shows a bit more of a mix of black and white things. The fourth image is one of the higher newer looking branches that doesn't look to have as much of the things on it. The last image show my cutters, I noticed a yellow/orange looking substance on them.

Basically I'd decided the plant looked to need a bit of trimming, more so on the right where it was growing near the neighbors window.

I have one last question and feel free to tell me if I'm being daft. Is there any chance whatever they are could cause irritation on human skin or anything else unwanted? Would it be an issue to animals around the plant? We have quite a few cats on this street that walk under the plant.

The Plant Mostly white things White and black things newer branch, not many things Cutters with yellow/orange stuff on them

2 Answers 2


The plant is a Euonymus - hard to say which, because parts of it have reverted to plain green, but probably was originally Euonymus japonicus aureum. All branches which are entirely plain green should be removed at the base, from the trunk. Reshape to a size and overall appearance that you want - this plant responds well to pruning, but if you remove a lot of topgrowth, and because it's infested, give it a feed after pruning with a balanced fertiliser such as Growmore granules (NPK 7-7-7 if you want to find an alternative feed) raked or turned into the soil at the base. If the soil is currently dry, water it after putting down the feed.

Otherwise, its infested with Euonymus scale, a form of cushion scale which loves this plant - spray with Bayer Ultimate Fruit and Vegetable Bug killer, or Westland Resolva Bug killer, in June, when the nymphs have hatched (baby scale) because these are more vulnerable than adult scales. You may need to repeat the treatment in early September - spray thoroughly, including under the leaves and stems, until run off.

The plant itself isn't toxic (provided you don't use it for a salad), but try to exclude animals from the area when you're spraying with insecticide, and until the spray has dried. Best sprayed in late evening, when the bees have stopped working, and not on a windy day.


I can't identify the plant (does it flower? if so what do the flowers look like) but the infection is almost certainly scale. Hard to tell how long the infection is going on but it's certainly not brand new. I don't know of any reason why it would cause itching but it could be a mild reaction to sap from the bush you were pruning or just a case of mental suggestion, like your head itching when someone talks about lice.

  • I've never seen flowers on it, the other answer gives the name Euonymus which Wikipedia says is a flowering plant but looking into plants there are often many species to a genus. The Euonymus japonicus Wikipedia page also mentions it having inconspicuous small flowers so I may have not noticed them. That's all on the assumptions of what plant it is so it may not be right.
    – Kioshiki
    Commented Apr 20, 2015 at 17:23

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