April 23, 2012

Cedar Apple Rust

I went outside after the rain with my camera to capture water droplets on leaves. I really enjoy taking photographs when the weather is overcast. The lack of sunshine enables colors to be more distinct and vibrant.  I caught a splash of bright orange within the stand of junipers from the corner of my eye. A closer inspection revealed an intriguing, unusually shaped and rarely seen organism that I had only read about - Cedar Apple Rust.

This fungus needs two host plants in order to live. On this native juniper, Juniperus viginiana, it has produced this very showy gall. (It looks a bit like a sea anemone or sea urchin.) It also needs an apple or crabapple tree near by to finish its life cycle.

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