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For Insects, Spiders & Their Kin
For the United States & Canada
Spiny Witch Hazel Gall Aphid for PA - Hamamelistes spinosus

Spiny Witch Hazel Gall Aphid for PA - Hamamelistes spinosus
Penn's Landing, Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania, USA
May 6, 2010
Size: Leaf ~3 inches
Insects, mites, galls, fungus? No idea what this fuzzy, granular stuff is. There are small crawling insects that I can't get a good enough photo of, some aphids, and lady beetles enthusiastically eating it. (I watched, they ate the fuzzy stuff and not the aphids. Well, also the aphids.)

I'm adding more pictures of the leaves, flowers, and bark in the hopes that someone can identify the tree. It's an ornamental weeping birch but I don't know the species.

Images of this individual: tag all
Spiny Witch Hazel Gall Aphid for PA - Hamamelistes spinosus Fuzzy things on deformed birch leaf - Hamamelistes spinosus Normal and deformed leaves - Hamamelistes spinosus

Moved from ID Request.

aphids = Hamamelistes spinosus
The white stuff is wax produced by the aphids. Maybe some yummy honeydew mixed in. I'm no good with ornamentals, but it might be a river birch?

The pink bark (between the rough gray plates, 5th photo) on the lower trunk points to River Birch (Betula nigra), but the normal leaf seen on the 3rd photo does not appear to show the rhombic (diamond-shaped) outline for that species (but perhaps the leaf is young and has not assumed its mature form). The pistillate flower cluster (female "cone", 4th photo) is developed with this spring's leaves, which is also consistent with River Birch. Abigail, if you could provide a photo showing the color and pattern of the peeling bark higher up on the trunk (or describe from memory if returning to the tree is not convenient), it would help to clinch the tree ID.

River Birch
I see Charley just identified the insect as the Spiny Witch Hazel Gall Aphid, which uses river birch as an alternate host. I meant to get back to this posting sooner with my "best guess" that the tree was indeed River Birch; there is a good photo of the rough, pinkish bark that forms on the lower trunk of large stems of this tree species on the University of Connecticut Plants Database webpage (click on the first thumbnail for "Bark" in the left column). Also, some of the leaves in the defocused background of Abigail's photo do show the characteristic rhombic shape.