When I was a kid, the 1958 Steve McQueen movie, “The Blob,” was terrifying. At some point, you get older and realize the horror of the big, gooey monster is just fiction, confined to the big screen. But then, you get even older and realize the blob does exist, and it’s called cedar apple rust. As diseases go, it’s pretty spectacular looking, sort of spider chrysanthemum meets orange Jell-o, all activated by the spring rain.

However its fungal glory is short-lived. A week later, the stars were dried and droopy.

FUNGUS -- One of the larger fungal "stars" of the cedar apple rust that's infected an eastern red cedar on the hill.


BRANCHING OUT -- Though the "stars" are the most notable part of this infection, there are more modest blobs on inner branches.


A WEEK LATER -- The fungal spore horns shrivel.

10 thoughts on “The blob

  1. I’ve seen those but never knew what they were. They are definitely unusual looking.

      1. I thought they were cool looking when I seen them but couldn’t figure out where they’d come from. Almost alien looking.

    1. Checked with Dr. Jim Robbins, a horticulture specialist, and he said the infection is not lethal to the host, but it can distort fruit and damage leaves, which is why fruit growers work so hard to fight it.

    1. One of our extension hort specialists says the fungus rotates hosts, one year cedar, another year, fruit and other trees. This winter, when you’re out among the cedars, look for galls that look like tiny potatoes (about half inch or so). Chances are that by the first or second spring rain, you’ll find some sprouting spore horns. Keep up the shooting. Your work is very inspiring!

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