Monday, July 13, 2020

A Tree-related Post

I had it all planned: errand 1, errand 2, … errand 5, then to LaBonte Park to visit the tree I’m following. It would be a nice outing by bicycle on a sunny afternoon in Laramie. True, a dark sky loomed to the north. But the wind was from the south, should be fine.

The first raindrops fell when I left the post office for the park. Then more. Did I continue, sit under a picnic shelter, wait it out? No. Now I’m home listening to raindrops, thunder and the howling wind.

Consider joining us; more information here.
Fortunately, the Squirrel Basket, who hosts our monthly gatherings, has noted: “Some of you may be able to visit your trees but for others any tree-related post will be acceptable during these unusual times. I’m sure you will think of something interesting to say.”

I don’t really qualify as being unable to visit my tree. But in any case, I didn’t. So I offer this post about fir broom rust, a fungal pathogen of true fir trees in North America. An overpoweringly sweet one stopped me on a hike last month.
Is that a little fir tree in the big fir tree? No, it’s a witch’s broom!
Chickweed is the alternate host for this rust (a fir tree isn’t enough). USDA Forest Service.

Rusts have a reputation for being so complex and esoteric that only a bionerd would want to learn about their life. Yet among the readers who enjoyed the post were a musician and a paleontologist. Maybe you will too …
Rust life cycle 'simplified' ... yikes!


  1. Bionerd. I like it. It's too bad that your tree visit was a wash-out, but I would think that rain at anytime in Wyoming would be a welcomed thing. The rust on the chickweed looks a little like an infestation of aphids. That's my reality. :)

  2. Thanks for sharing - VERY interesting! I'm just off over to the longer version you have written...