Cedar-Hawthorn Rust

Encyclopedia Article

Image of hawthorn rust on the top of a leaf
Hawthorn rust on the top of a leaf 


Hawthorn rust is caused by the fungus Gymnosporangium globosum.

Signs and symptoms of cedar-hawthorn rust 

The rust fungus causes small yellow spots on hawthorn leaves. These spots eventually enlarge and often have a reddish border. The centers of these yellow spots later show small black spots. On the lower leaf surface, directly above the spots, small brownish tube-shaped structures form. Infected leaves may eventually yellow and drop prematurely from the tree.

Disease cycle of cedar-hawthorn rust

This disease is also referred to as cedar-hawthorn rust because the fungus requires two hosts to complete its life cycle.

The cedar-hawthorn rust fungus overwinters on junipers or red cedars in round, brown galls on leaves and twigs. During rainy spring weather, these galls produce bright orange, gelatinous tendrils that contain fungal spores. These spores are then blown to nearby hawthorn trees. Spores may be blown several miles. Fungal spores produced in infected hawthorn leaves in late summer are then blown back to the juniper host, completing the life cycle.

Evidence (signs) of the fungal pathogen Gymnosporangium globosum

Image of hawthorn rust on the bottom of a leaf
Image of hawthorn rust on the bottom of a leaf

Type of Sample Needed for Diagnosis and Confirmation

The Iowa State University Plant & Insect Diagnostic Clinic can help you to investigate and confirm if you plant has this disease. Please see our website for current forms, fees, and instructions on collecting and packing samples. Contact information for each states diagnostic laboratory for U.S. residents.  If your sample is from outside of Iowa please do not submit it to the Plant & Insect Diagnostic Clinic without contacting us



Plant Resistant hawthorn varieties when available.

Sanitation: remove as much of the infected twigs, fruit and leaves as possible.

Some fungicide treatments available can provide protection prior to the symptoms have appeared. Fungicides can be used to protect hawthorn leaves from infection. Labeled products include chlorothalonil and EBDC products. Fungicides should be applied as new growth appears and flower buds start to open. Repeat 3 or 4 times as directed by the product label. Control on the juniper host is usually not necessary.

See this article for more information about cedar rusts.