I have been seeing these tiny greenish-yellowish nodes on the stem of my basil plants. They don't appear on leaves just the stems. I can peel off the nodes and crush it. Does the photo below show an infestation of aphids, whiteflies or just something that happens naturally with basil?

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Here's a photo of the node I peeled off the stem.

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2 Answers 2


It's nice to see a post about potential infestation and being able to calm the poster:

These are adventitious root stubs, or in other words, tiny roots starting to form. There are a number of reasons why that can happen. In this case, the damage at the split stem might be a cause.

Your photos are a bit blurry, but I would expect a tiny wound where you broke off your sample.

There is no need to remove the rootlets, but if you consider taking cuttings and propagating your basil, these parts are a good starting point.

  • See the comments in this Q/A.
    – Stephie
    Commented Mar 21, 2017 at 11:50
  • Thanks for the post. Hmm... I have removed most of the nodes (rootlets or scale insects). I will try to take a better shot of it if I can find it. I don't see a wound at the location of the removal. Is there another diagnostic I can try? I am thinking of letting one of the nodes be and see if they turn brown.
    – Spinor8
    Commented Mar 22, 2017 at 4:18
  • Well, you could try rooting a cutting with one of those on it and see if it turns to roots. Commented Mar 23, 2017 at 1:20
  • It is usually located further down the plant. So to make a cutthing would mean lopping off half the plant. Nevertheless, I shall try it and report back later. I do have more basil than I can consume. LOL.
    – Spinor8
    Commented Mar 24, 2017 at 3:09

Looks like scale insects. They hide under the shell that you see, and suck sap from the plant tissues. If you only have a few plants you can pick them off quite easily. Greenish yellow usually means that they are immature and will not have done much damage so far. Once they turn brown they are into reproductive capacity. Pick them soon, otherwise they will become numerous and destroy the plant.

See similar problem at What is this brown, shell-like thing growing on the stalk of my avocado plant?

  • Scale typically don't "stick out" like that and they wouldn't exclusively concentrate on the points where the plant is branching off. I'm going with roots.
    – Stephie
    Commented Mar 21, 2017 at 11:49
  • I am with Stephie on this Colin. Don't be upset...to be able to diagnose or offer intellectual opinions with one fuzzy photo is very very difficult.
    – stormy
    Commented Mar 21, 2017 at 21:36
  • Thanks for the post. I will try to take a better macro shot of it if I can find enough of them. I have removed most of them. I am curious what they are. So I will probably leave a few of them around. See if they turn brown. That way I can diagnose what they are definitively.
    – Spinor8
    Commented Mar 22, 2017 at 4:21

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