celeste || 24 || english & 中文 || art blog where i post my oc art and sometimes complain
someone ask me about my favorite fungus so i can ramble about itzylphide
it's not one fungus, but the genus Gymnosporangium, also known by the common names of apple-cedar rust and quince rust. what's cool about this particular genus of fungi is that they have 2 sets of hosts - in the spring and summer, it infects rosaceous plants (like apple, juneberry, chokeberry, pear, etc.), while in the fall and winter, it infects junipers.
after overwintering in the junipers, they'll produce these weird jelly-like appendages called telial horns from either from the branch of the juniper itself or from a gall on the branch. they're really cool looking
spores from these telial horns then infect the rosaceous plants. during the late summer/early fall, the infected rosaceous plants will have these bright orange spots on the leaf. the top of the leaf looks fine aside from the orange spots, but the undersides will have these weird reproductive growths (aecia) coming out:
the spores from the aecia will then infect the juniper, starting the cycle all over again.
the unique thing about these fungi is that their spores are this bright cheeto dust orange color. if you collect some aecia from an infected leaf, you'll almost always get the cheeto dust spores on your hands. most spores tend to be brown, black, or white/clear, so these orange spores really stand out.
another cool thing is that Gymnosporangium fungi have multiple sexual spores! most fungi that produce sexual spores will only have 1 type of sexual spore, but true rusts like Gymnosporangium can have up to 4 types sexual spores (aeciospores, teliospores, basidiosporse, and urediniospores). i'm pretty sure Gymnosporangium itself only has 3 out of those 4, in addition to an asexual spore stage.