Host an Event Volunteer Join Tickets

Support the plant database you love!

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

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
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

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

Pruning of Hamelia patens, Firebush
June 23, 2006 - I have a Hamelia Patens (Fire Bush) it says it will grow to 12 feet high and 5-6 feet across. Can I keep pruning it to about 5 feet without damaging the shrub?
view the full question and answer

Wintering a Lemon Cypress tree in Eagan MN
September 29, 2009 - I Have a 2 1/2' Lemon Cypress Tree. I'm wondering if I can leave it outdoors for the winter, if not, how would I winter over indoors?
view the full question and answer

Florida shrub with tiny green pumpkin-like fruit
July 23, 2008 - I live in Central Florida and have a fast-growing shrub with long stems. The leaves are similar to sassafras and from a distance the red flowers resemble those of a geranium. It has pods that look l...
view the full question and answer

Monocarpic plants for Indiana
October 06, 2005 - We were in Hawaii this summer and became acquainted with the Silversword. This plant (according to what we were told) blooms only once in it's lifetime (of 50-70 years). Are you aware of any other pl...
view the full question and answer

Will hybrid Tecoma stans attract hummingbirds from Glendale AZ
July 07, 2012 - We bought a bells of fire plant; would like to know if hummingbirds like them?
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.