Cedar-Apple Rust

Make no mistake, this orange ball is not a cedar, an apple, or even a kind of rust. The name of this fungus comes from the fact that it infects both cedars and apple trees and in color looks a bit like rust. It is a bit odd in that it does infect cedars or apple trees, but instead requires both for a complete lifecycle. It will not be found in places where only one or the other is present. The early part of the lifecycle is spent in apple trees. Spores are carried by the wind in the early spring and implant themselves on newly sprouted apple leaves. The fungus will discolor those leaves through the summer as it grows with the tree. In the fall, the fungus in the leaves will release a new batch of spores which then implant themselves into the needles of a cedar. The fungus forms a gall in the cedar which will last for an entire year before releasing spores again (pictured) during its second spring to start the cycle anew.

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