Poop on a Stick

Yeah, you read that right. Take a look at this photo, and I’ll bet you agree that is an apt description for this image.

On a recent visit to Saskatchewan, on a hike, we saw this curious fungal tree disease on chokecherry bushes. I recalled having seen it many times before but I don’t remember wondering what it was.

This is actually black knot fungus. It affects small shrubs of chokecherry or pin cherry in natural areas, especially on the prairies. Spread by spores like all fungi, it is mostly carried by rain to other bushes. It develops under the bark at first, so what you see as blackish lumps surrounding the limb is the second year growth. It is not considered harmful to humans, and a cherry tree can be pruned to control it.

Never had I heard it labeled so perfectly, but, I mean, it is often at just the right height, so… . Anyway, I won’t forget the name, now. You?

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