Friday, October 2, 2009

Something's strange about the Lady's Fingers

I only discovered that Lady's Fingers are also called Okra recently. (Yes... I was always wondering what the Okra plant mentioned on the GCS forum was.)

But I have a few seeds of the lady's fingers given to me by a fellow forummer and so I decided to try germinate one. For some reason, it "looked" like an easy seed to germinate so I germinated it in a large pot vs the small germinating pots I usually use.

The seed started off well and grew into a strong seedling in no time.

But then, something strange started happening.

There were lots of clear little balls on the underside of the leaves. Almost every leaf had those clear little balls.. which looked like very small clear beads actually.

They are a bit hard and pop if you squash them.

I was quite freaked out. Could they be eggs of some strange insect lurking in my balcony? I searched high and low and found no new or unknown insects in my balcony. I waited a few days to see if they'd "hatch"..

They didn't.. there were just more of them popping up all over the leaves.

I sprayed insecticide on them.. They seemed quite immune.

Maybe they are some sort of fungal growth, I thought..

Though that seemed unlikely, I sprayed fungicide on them. Again, nothing happened, just more and more balls.

Finally, I took some soapy water and washed all the leaves of my Okra plant and was finally satisfied when there were no more little balls..

But the next day, they reappeared.

Oh these pesky little things!

Frustrated, I took a picture of them and posted a question on GCS forum.

Turns out that these clear little balls are normal for an Okra plant (or a Lady's fingers plant if you, like me, prefer the more feminine name).

In fact, they are a sign of a healthy plant. According to a learned fellow forummer, these are sap produced by the plant to attract beneficial bacteria to the leaves for better disease resistance and plant nutrition.

What a reflief to know that these strange and rather creepy looking balls are actually Nature's creative and wonderful way of taking care of herself.


Anonymous said...

I used to have these ball-thingies on my okra too, and even on some other plants. It was quite fun to pop them. Heh heh.

I'm glad kelmund managed to answer your question. =)

Open Kitchen Concept said...

Yes, he's such an expert!