Type your question here!

Friday, May 30, 2014

Warty Growths on Limbs Tree Solved

Recently some pictures were sent to me of some warty growths found on the limbs off crepe myrtle. But the tree did not look like crepe myrtle. And I did not recognize the warty growths. Read on to find out what was going on.....
Q.I suspect this condition is related to a previous question about similar bumps on quince trees. I noticed these on my neighbor's crape myrtle. You can see that the bumps cover not only the large, old trunk but are also all along the smaller branches. And these bumps are HARD! When you pick at them with a fingernail, they don't budge. Crape myrtle is not usually susceptible to scale. But I don't know what else it could be.

A. This isn't the same as the brown bumps on quince trees. Those were hard scale insects. These bumps are part of the wood itself.

Crepe myrtle has some very characteristic leaves and flowers. This isn't crepe myrtle. I have to admit that I was stumped. I sent some pictures to Andrea Meckley, the plant person, and she thought it looked like carob tree with a really big problem.

Mature carob tree in Las Vegas with warty growth on limbs
So I began doing some digging on carob. Carob grows well in the Las Vegas climate. We lost I think all of them in the Valley when we had a 50 year low temperature during the winter of 1989 to 1990. Temperatures in the North West part of the Valley dropped to about 2°F and even killed bermudagrass. We lost quite a few African sumac as well as the carob trees, many of our palm trees were damaged at hotels and around town.

We lost a beautiful pine tree called Roxburghii pine. Remaining pines in the warmer parts of the city
lost branches down to the trunk, but the trunk survived and to re-sprouted new growth. Those pines are still there across from Desert Springs Hospital on Maryland Parkway. If anyone is interested I will post some of those pictures of the survival of that pine.

African sumac was replanted in town. Even though carob tree is a very good choice for our climate, it never regained any popularity. primarily because it is slow growing most likely. But it is relatively pest free just about everywhere in the world and a very interesting plant.

Carob tree is a complicated tree sexually. Carob trees can exist as separate male and female trees or male and female flowers on the same tree. The scent from the male flowers is said to resemble the smell of semen so some might consider that offensive. It is grown commercially for the pods and seed which is ground and used as a substitute for cocoa. Unlike cocoa, carob does not contain the stimulant theobromine. There are different varieties of carob used for commercial production.

As carob gets more mature it develops these warty growths near where the flowers are produced. This is normal.

More on carob tree later. Thanks to Mindy for all the pictures!

1 comment:

  1. I am submitting this comment for Mindy. She tried posting a comment but was not successful.

    What an interesting adventure this has been! I originally wrote to you for help diagnosing what was causing the warty growths on my neighbor's crape myrtle tree — only to find out the tree wasn't a crape myrtle after all! Glad to hear those growths are not anything to worry about.

    Ironically, after doing some research on carob trees, I've learned that carob powder is traditionally used to topically to remove warts... on people!

    Thank you for devoting so much of your time helping to solve "The Mystery of the Crape Myrtle Tree." It's been a fun experience!

    Thanks again...