Cedar-Apple Rust

May 23, 2008

Yesterday we approached a lone red cedar tree in the horse pasture and discovered it had been adorned with truly strange little decorations. The centre of each was a hard core developed around the branch, and what seemed to be orange gelatin petals radiated out from them. They looked rather like sunflowers made by a demented mathemetician who hadn’t bothered to research his task too carefully. They were pretty, but strange.

This evening when I returned with a camera they were a good deal less pleasing. The petals had shrunken, and the hard cores had evidently shut off life to the twigs, because every branch beyond each flower was discoloured. I picked the lot, took them back to the house, and sealed them in a plastic bag.

Turns out Google thinks the red cedar is really a juniper, and the fungus cross-infects with apple trees, so these decorations are bad news, indeed, if there is an orchard around. I hope I caught them before they released their spores over a two-mile area.

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