Curious Friday: Apple Cedar Rust


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There are a group of fungi that are referred to as rust and they require alternate hosts in order to survive. Pictures are of Apple cedar rust Gymnosporangium juniperivirginianae that is a fungus who’s life cycle is between Juniperus virginiana (upright junipers) and apples and crab apples. The fungus spores come into contact with juniper twigs and awls (needles) and forms a gall on the juniper.(picture 1)

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It usually will develop in the fall and in the spring around 18 months later, when mature, these galls swell considerably and repeatedly produce orange, gelatinous telial horns during rainy spring weather and releases its’ spores (picture 2)

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The spores are carried by the wind onto apple leaves which develop into yellow blotches on the leaves, fruit or twigs during the summer and later in the season it spores are released where it re-infects the juniper and the cycle continues.
It does not kill either of its’ host, but can do harm especially on stressed plants.

Apple Cedar Rust

I know on one hand it is bad, but it does exist, and apples and crab apples are going to grow near junipers in their range and on some levels it is pretty cool, certainly unusual.

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14 thoughts on “Curious Friday: Apple Cedar Rust

  1. I wish I’d checked your blog last night. I didn’t take a photo of a fungus outside my back door that I hope will be there tomorrow, Your pictures are really quite amazing

  2. Though they can often signal disease and/or decay, given that those distinguish the preferred support media of fungi of all sorts, fungi really are interesting, weird, beautiful and, in the case of non-toxic sorts, delicious! And it still astounds me to think that this is the life form that probably has the largest representative on earth—one *single* organism underpinning thousands of acres of land. How amazing and cool is that! 🙂 Great photos and information here!

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