Friends of Kootenay Blog

Access stories and photos about the natural and human history of Kootenay National Park and Columbia Valley Includes highlights about the Friends of Kootenay National Park activities and programs.


Alien Boogers

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Gymnosporangium found in Columbia Lake Park by Susie MacDonald

Susie MacDonald sent Friends of Kootenay this photo of what looks like a glob of orange jelly in a juniper. It is actually a fungus known by mycologists as Gymnosporangium juniperi-virginianae or to orchidist as Cedar-Apple Rust.

In the spring particularly after the rains it creates a large freaky-looking fruit-body with gelatinous horns that can range in size from a grape to a baseball. They have quite a complex live cycle alternating between plants. But when they are in the stage that Susie found them they look like something from outer space. They reminded one observer of “alien boogers” which I’m sure will come to your mind the next time you see one on your walk in juniper country.