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My Ficus Elastica looks in great health with the exception of two newish leaves that are curled a little and one leaf that has this strange pattern. It almost looks like something has eaten it but I can't see any visible evidence of pests and strange that it is only this one leaf. Any ideas what could have caused this?

Thanks

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  • There are lots of very small spots of some sort on the leaf surface, together with what could be eggs or crystalline deposits (harmless) at the base of the damaged leaf. Please check with a magnifying glass to see what they are, and also closely examine underneath the leaves for anything that shouldn't be there, like insects for instance. You don't have a cat or dog, do you? – Bamboo Jan 16 at 17:23
  • Hi, thanks for the response. It doesn't seem to be any kind of pest and as far as I can see they are lithocysts according to this link: plantsarethestrangestpeople.blogspot.com/2011/08/… And no, I don't have any pets. – mjuk Jan 16 at 17:25
  • And nothing under the leaves? Something has caused that strange 'pricked from beneath' look on some of the leaves....if that's what it is, its not completely clear under magnification. One of the leaves has tiny white spots of some sort too... – Bamboo Jan 16 at 17:43
  • They actually look more of a green colour to the eye. They just appear more white in the photo due to the light. As confident as I can be it's not a pest. If you look at the photo of lithocysts at the link above then this is exactly what they look like. Thanks again! – mjuk Jan 16 at 17:53
  • Well lithocysts might the small bumps I can see - but not the whitish deposits at the base of the leaf... – Bamboo Jan 16 at 19:07
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As the new leaves go through their embryo and very early development they are very soft and fragile, and are frequently folded up along the main rib so that what ends up far apart actually started out close together. In the Ficus family the very young leaves are protected by a sheath; this can be a good and bad thing, since on the one hand it protects, but if the growth undergoes a spurt the emerging leaf can be mechanically constrained inside its protective covering. Soft tissues can be damaged due to compression and sudden release.

It might be instructive to watch your emerging leaves to see whether in their early stages they are free to expand. It just takes a bend or a crease at the single leaf margin while very young to present itself as nicks and dents on both margins once fully spread and mature. Nothing to be done, the leaf will soon be gone once its task is completed.

  • Thanks so much, this sounds spot on judging by the new leaves appearing. I have a slight bit of leaf curl on some of the new ones and what you say fits with where some of the curls are happening before the leaf fully opens. Thanks for clearing this up! – mjuk Jan 16 at 20:56

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