Willow Rust - Melampsora spp.
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Weeping Willow - Salix x chrysocoma
Family - Salicaceae
Distinctive hybrid of Chinese Weeping Willow - Salix babylonica and White Willow - Salix alba, growing to a height of about 12m. Popular ornamental tree often grown by water and in damp places, parks and gardens. Long thin trailing branches of yellow twigs and lanceolate leaves, bright green on top, green-blue below. Male ♂ catkins are found on differing trees to the female ♀. Flowers when the leaves appear in April to May, catkins to 8cm sometimes on the same spike.
Willows can suffer from quite spectacular rust infections caused by several species of Tree Rust - Melampsora spp. where dusty orange spots or pustules appear on the undersides of the leaves. Severe attacks can leave the leaf virtually covered in pustules, and can be ocassionally intermingled with black ones. Rust fungi are biotrophs and as they cannot survive on dead plant material, they must either alternate with a different perennial host including Euonymus (Spindle Tree), Larix (Larch), Ribes (Gooseberry), Saxifraga, or produce resting spores. Tree rusts can also affect Poplar, Willow, Birch and Plum species.
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