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Desert Broom Rust Fungus



Baccharis shrub with uredinalid infection © by Michael Plagens

This bright yellow-orange fungal parasite is erupting from a stem of Desert Broom, Baccharis sarothroides (Asteraceae). Obsserved along Devil's Canyon east of Superior, Arizona, USA.

Many kinds of fungi live in association with plants in the Sonoran Desert. The associations can range from something akin to a disease whereby the plant's energy and fitness is sapped by the fungus, to symbiosis that benefits both plant and fungus. The shrub that hosted the fungus shown here appeared to be less robust than uninfected desert broom plants nearby. Further, careful investigation might reveal, however, that the plant gets something from the fungus that improves its survival.

Tentative identification of this fungus was provided by Dr Marcin Piatek, Polish Academy of Sciences, Krakow, Poland.

On new tender growth sharpshooters (below, left), a kind of leafhopper, will insert their piercing-sucking mouthparts to take sap. As seeds mature on female plants various seed-feeding bugs will gather including the Bordered Plant Bug (below, center). Male plants offer lots of pollen upon which longhorn beetles (below, right) feed. The image-links will lead to more information about the insect.

Smoketree Sharpshooter Sooty Planthopper Bordered Plant Bug Double-banded Bycid Elegant Katydid © by Mike Plagens

Asteraceae -- Sunflower Family

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