Wednesday, 22 April 2015

And now for something completely different: tree fungus!

As I mentioned, on Saturday we saw some fungi on some local red cedars. We'd never noticed it before.

We looked at them, Michael actually pulled one off and squished it and broke it open. It was hard on the inside.

Then we took a closer look at the trees and noticed blackish, porous-looking balls...

Where these fungus looking things part of the plants' reproductive cycle, triggered by the rain, or were they a parasitic fungus?
Parasitic fungus! It's called Cedar-Hawthorn rust. Or Juniper-Hawthorn rust.
Gross, right?

Turns out that it's a fungus that needs two hosts: junipers and apples.

Now, the Midwest red cedar is actually a juniper.

And there are apples (of some variety that we've never seen before), just up from the cedars. Presumably, these apples are a Hawthorn.

The rust takes 2 years to complete its cycle. Craziness, right?

We missed the fungus on the cedars last spring because we were busy dealing with the whole "oh dear, we've just moved halfway around the world" shock and were often more interested in getting the internet running in our apartment than what was growing on the trees. The fungus might not have even been growing on the cedars last spring, but it is more likely that we didn't notice it.

Thanks to Michael for the photos, and for finding out what the funny looking things were!

Find out more:
Juniper-Hawthorn rust
Cedar-Hawthorn rust
Cedar-Apple rust

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