Saturday, May 5, 2007
05.04.07 FUNGUS AMONG US
Walking down the gravel road I spy this growing in a Cedar tree. Is it a flower? If so it looks like it comes from another world and is an alien to our native aromatic Cedar. This is a new one to me, I confirm on Wikipedia that this is indeed a freerider. Cedar Rust, Gymnsporangium, is a notorious fungus of this area which depends on two different families of plants to survive. On its first host, members of the Juniper family, it produces these peculiar orange sea-anomene-type growths. The fungus's terrifying looking tentacles produce spores which then float on the wind to local members of the Malus family, such as APPLE trees! It is a serious problem for apple orchards, it causes leaf and fruit damage as it prepares a second set of spores which then floats off in search of more Juniper. Now I know the origin of the strange orange spots on the leaves of my apple trees!