Sci-fi meets reality with alien tentacles growing on a cedar tree!
This octopus-like fungus is commonly known as Cedar-apple rust. These pictures, captured by one of our Environmental Educators, depict half of the fungus’s life cycle. These orange tentacles come from greenish-red galls on the ends of the cedar branches, and they contain spores.
The life cycle of this fungus requires a member of the Juniperus family (a cedar or juniper tree) to produce galls, which then grow these orange tentacles, and a member of the Rosacea family (apples or crabapples) for those spores to land on and produce more spores that then infect the cedar trees.
While these growths don’t do much harm to the cedar trees, the spores will disperse and infect apple and crabapple trees, doing economic damage to apple crops. Farmers have learned to combat this by planting varieties of apple that are resistant to the fungus.
#PhenologyFriday #OrangeTentacles #WIEnviroEd #NatureIsEverywhere #NaturecanbeWeird #EveryBodyOutside @ Aldo Leopold Nature Center ...