Well, it’s definitely scale. I spent some time after I got home this afternoon, sitting on the back porch in almost 80-degree weather, scraping bug after bug off stems and leaves with a dried twig. Actually several dried twigs, because after a while the one I was using would get gross with now-squishy bug bodies and I’d abandon it and get a new one. I hope some bird had a pleasant meal from the ones I tossed onto the patio. I was ashamed to see some thickly-covered branches, because once I actually looked, it was quite obvious things weren’t right with this plant. I just haven’t looked. All winter.

I also noticed a multitude of tiny light brown spots on the bottoms of some leaves, like raised stomata, except that I could scrape them off with my twig. Google tells me they could be caused by spider mites, rust, or maybe whitefly. I don’t see any webs on the plant, though Google also tells me that may come later. Tomorrow I’ll check it out more thoroughly and try to pin down a diagnosis.