Mayapple Rust
A quick update on the status of the Crum May-Apples. The first fruits are starting to appear, but probably won’t be fully ripe until late summer. Like the flowers, the fruits aren’t easy to see. Much more noticeable is the brilliant orange May-Apple Rust currently attacking several patches of the plant. As its name, Puccinia podophylli, suggests, this fungus lives only on May-Apple. This may seem like specialization taken too far, but given the number of May-Apples covering the forest floor it’s not surprising. In fact, compared to the complex life cycles of other rusts and smuts (and other parasites), many of which must move through two or three hosts in turn, P. podophylli has it easy.
Click here to see a micrograph of the spore from the University of British Columbia.
May-Apple Rust
Tuesday, May 9, 2006