Camellias and azaleas are subject to a disease that occurs in the spring on new growth. If you grow these in your landscape, you might notice some unusual-looking foliage. Light green to pink, fleshy leaves are the symptom of a disease caused by a fungus called camellia leaf gall and a related species that causes azalea leaf gall. As the disease progresses and begins to produce spores, the lower leaf surface dries and peels back to reveal the white masses of spores. Eventually, the leaves will be dry, brown, and leathery and still hang in the plant. Secondary infections do not happen in the same year but can occur the following spring from spores surviving on the plant. The fall-blooming Camellia sasanqua is more susceptible to this disease than the Camellia japonica species.
As ugly as this disease appears, little damage is done to the plants, and it is never life-threatening. The best control is to hand-pick the galls before spores are produced. Put the galls in a bag and throw them away. Fungicides are not usually practical for controlling this disease. For more information, see HGIC, Camellia Leaf Gall video; HGIC 2053, Camellia Diseases and Insect Pests; and HGIC 2050, Azalea and Rhododendron Diseases.