Here, the Plant Disease Clinic publishes advisories for emergent plant diseases in the local area. You can see below for a link to the current disease update, refer to the list in the sidebar for the most recent plant disease advisories, or refer to the archives.

Current Disease Update

The tiny dark objects on this rhododendron leaf are the spore masses or peridioles of the artillery fungus. (Photo credit: Bruce Watt, University of Maine, Bugwood.org)

Artillery Fungus

Artillery Fungus

The artillery fungus is common in home and urban landscapes where it decays organic debris and is most commonly associated with wood mulch. The genus of this fungus is Sphaerobolus, which translates to “sphere thrower”, and gives a clue regarding its unique adaptation. If not for the production of the sticky spore masses that it discharges forcibly about 15’ high and 20’ distant, this fungus would likely be overlooked because its fruiting body or spore-producing structure is less than 1/20 of an inch in diameter.

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