Explore Plants

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 

Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Monday - May 04, 2009

From: Boston, MA
Region: Northeast
Topic: Shrubs
Title: Identifcation of strange orange growth on shrubs
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I have found a strange orange ball shape with softer spikes about 1-2 in. growing from it on my shrubs, they grow around the branch. I believe they are Yews. I have never seen them before but now there are 2 baseball sized ones and a few starting. The bush was trimmed a week ago but they are growing a few inches into the bush. I do have a few pictures. PS they are located in Cape Cod MA

ANSWER:

This sounds like the fungal disease Cedar-Apple Rust (Gymnosporangium juniperi-virginianae) that is a serious problem for apples since it can defoliate the tree and affect fruit quality, but causes few problems for junipers and cedars except cosmetic ones. The orange structures with spikes are called telia and occur only on the cedars/junipers and produce spores that infect the apple host.  The spores produced on the leaves of the apple infect the cedars/junipers.  Here are more photos and information from Oklahoma State University, Colorado State University, and Cornell University.

If this is not what you found on your tree, please send us your photos and we will do our best to identify these growths.  Visit Mr. Smarty Plants' Plant Identification page to read instructions on submitting photos.

 

More Shrubs Questions

Blue rug juniper native to New Hampshire
March 29, 2009 - Is the blue rug juniper native to New Hampshire? I'm considering it for ground cover near lake in zip 03872.
view the full question and answer

Replacement for non-native Italian Cypress in Austin
July 10, 2011 - I would appreciate your assistance with some native plant options to replace Italian Cypress trees in the Arboretum area of Austin, TX. I have 12 of the trees on the north side of the house to obstru...
view the full question and answer

Propagation of wax myrtle from Lafayette LA
December 10, 2012 - Hello, I have a good portion of Wax Myrtle Seeds. How do I get them Started for planting? Have been told to put several seeds in a Jar lid in a very damp paper-towel & leave them there till they ...
view the full question and answer

Is cenizo (Leucophyllum frutescens) edible?
December 21, 2012 - I found a post here about cenizo leaves being used for tea, but I'm wondering if the leaves of the cenizo are edible? I have found many recipes for 'brown butter sage' leaves (sauteed often with on...
view the full question and answer

Propagating Pavonia seeds
October 10, 2013 - Could you please recommend a method for scarifying Pavonia seeds? Thank you
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.