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I have a Dracaena Marginata which started to have some white spots. They turn out to be some kind of "mold"

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which can be removed when swapping the leaf and then leaves some discolored spots

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They usually appear when the leafs get yellow (because of it, or because I have forgotten to water for too long) and seem to be more present at the base of the leaf.

What is this?

And more importantly: is it a problem for the plant? (minor issue, though it is a gift from my children) or for me? (major issue, and death sentence for the plant)

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  • $\begingroup$ I think they are bugs for further info, I dont know much about plants. $\endgroup$ – The_Mad_Fish Sep 18 '15 at 20:10
  • $\begingroup$ I do not think so, they are completely immobile and look like some sort of mold when scrubbed $\endgroup$ – WoJ Sep 18 '15 at 20:33
  • $\begingroup$ It is, as har-wradim suggested, scale. We had them on our Dracaena, I suggest you get a pesticide on them quickly, make sure to get all of the plant, they like to be around the base of the leaves near the trunk of the plant, and contemplate removing the worst affected leaves, we lost our plant because of it! $\endgroup$ – rg255 Dec 14 '15 at 10:23
  • $\begingroup$ Looks like some kind of scale insect $\endgroup$ – theforestecologist Oct 7 '18 at 21:59
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These are plant pathogens commonly known as scale insect (Coccoidea). Among the genera mentioned to infect Dracaena marginata here and here the most likely candidate is Pinnaspis.

They are close relatives of aphids and psyllids (and more distantly -- also to true bugs). Cochineal is probably the most famous representative of the superfamily. Scale insects suck host's sap and can be quite dangerous to the plant. Adult females are immobile and the spreading is performed by nymphs and (when present) males.

As far as I know they are harmless to humans. When digested (products of) at least cochineal can cause allergic reaction in some persons.

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  • $\begingroup$ Thank you - I will use some of the methods I found on the net to hopefully get rid it. $\endgroup$ – WoJ Sep 22 '15 at 14:37

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