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My water spinach plants are covered with these spikes. They are hard when I poke at them with a knife. They are mostly on the underside of leaves but sometimes also break to the topside. The leaves are still green.

Does anyone know what kind of fungus/pest that my poor plants have? I tried removing infected leaves and spraying pure castile soap but the spikes continued to grow afterwards.

white spike underside of water spinach leaves

  • There was a similar question in the last few months, but I cannot find it. – Polypipe Wrangler Jun 9 at 6:46
  • Perhaps try spraying some Neem Oil for a natural way of warding off pests and see if new growth is affected. – heisian Sep 7 at 17:23
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I think it might be Galls. Galls is a plant's reaction to an irritant, usually some type of mites. Sort of like how an oyster will create a pearl around a grain of sand irritating it.

Since you are having an ongoing problem with new leaves becoming affected, then the irritant is likely still on your plants. Since mites are usually the cause of galls, you can try one of the natural, organic miticides on the market. I have never used any commercial miticides, so I can't recommend any of them.

I had this problem with a Ficus Benjamina. I used my 'Big Gun' spray on it and the problem stopped. If you would like to try my 'Big Gun' spray, mix a few drops of Dawn dish liquid, about a teaspoon of rubbing alcohol and distilled water in a spray bottle. I use this spray mixture to get rid of spider mites.

** As with using any spray on a plant for the first time, spray test leaf, wait 48 hours and check for any adverse reaction on the test leaf. **

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I have the exact same issue. I believe the poster above is right - they are cosmetic galls due to external irritation. Not all of my water spinach have them. I can scrape the spikes off with my finger nail. Some of my stems have them as well.

These are growing in my aquaponics system. It seems only some of my water spinach are affected. I have lettuce growing in there as well with no issues.

It’s possible some tiny insects/mites are causing lesions to the leaves and these spikes grow as a response. It is definitely not fungus. The majority of my leaves are OK - I haven’t been able to identify a pattern of what becomes affected yet.

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  • I destroyed two of my batches because of them and still don't know what they are :-( The third time I sprayed copper fungicide before they appear and my water spinach has been doing fine although they seem to grow slower. – minhle_r7 Sep 9 at 14:30
  • yes I think destroying the crop is a little extreme.. try Neem Oil, it is a natural plant-derived product. Mix lightly with water and spray just a bit. Neem oil kept fungus from growing on my pea plants, although I doubt it is fungus that is affecting our plants. – heisian Sep 10 at 16:25
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I think it is white rust. Wikipedia recommends destroying the whole crop :-(

When infection is recognized, systemically infected plant material (including culled crops) should be completely removed and destroyed.

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