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Asteroscopus sphinx
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EFC Centre at Wat Tyler Country ParkWe are closed due to the Covid-19 situation, but we are otherwise normally open to the public at our centre at Wat Tyler Country Park every Saturday, Sunday and bank holiday 11am-4pm, check. We are also normally open on Wednesdays 10am-4pm.

Your Forum

This forum has now been more or less replaced by the Club's Facebook page at
Essex Field Club on Facebook

The weblog below is for naturalists to use to report interesting sightings, ask questions, report on field meetings and generally post pictures and any information or questions generally relevant in some way to the wildlife and geology of Essex. You will need to register and be logged-on to post to the forum, and you need to upload pictures first, for use in posts. Find out more

Mon 27th January 2014 20:43 by Peter Pearson
Graham, I see that you have posted photographs on this site of galls on Alexanders.
On a walk recently my wife and I found the below "galls" on the Alexanders at Skinners Wall, Manningtree.
Puccinia smyrnii on Alexanders (underside of leaf) Copyright: Peter Pearson
The underside of a leaf.
Puccinia smyrnii on Alexanders (Top of leaf) Copyright: Peter Pearson
The top of a leaf
Puccinia smyrnii on Alexanders Copyright: Peter Pearson
Close up of the underside of a gall

On top of the leaf they were green smooth, rounded and greasy in appearance. On the underside they were transparent with yellow cups inside. Each cup had a yellow ball in its mouth. They appeared to progress to a flattened wound on the top of the leaf while below the yellow cups appeared to have emptied and were turning a shade of brown.
Not knowing what we had found, I 'Googled' it and came up with a result, the fungus, Alexanders Rust Fungus (Puccinia smyrnii)
A question remains, how common is this fungus. NBN Gateway maps show it prevalent on the West Coast, North Norfolk and Suffolk, but none in Essex.
Is this a new phenomena in Essex or is a case of under recording.

By the way thanks for your excellent forum articles, not my area generally, but none the less a very interesting read.


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