Flower buds emerging on glossy buckthorn twig (Centennial Woods)

Flowers abound this time of year. I’ve been trying to get photos of all the trees and shrubs in Centennial Woods as their leaves and flowers first emerge. One of the more elegant early growths comes from Glossy Buckthorn (Frangula alnus, syn. Rhamnus alnifolia). In the image above the 5-petaled flowers are still enclosed in the sepals, green leaves that enclose the flower bud to protect it as it develops. Like the petals, the sepals are just modified leaves.

One of the more curious finds, however, was a deformed glossy buckthorn twig. I’ve seen this a few other times, but not sure what the cause is. My assumption is that it’s some microbial pathogen. It causes a mass of buds to form and fuse as they grow in a flattened branch. The entire shrub had the pattern on its different branches and was pretty unhealthy looking and behind in growth from adjacent buckthorns. Both of the images below are from the same shrub. I was only able to find the one example. If anyone knows the cause, let me know.

Bizarre growth on a glossy buckthorn twig. All the branches on this individual showed this pattern (Centennial Woods)


Bizarre growth on a glossy buckthorn twig. I’ve seen this multiple times on the same species (Centennial Woods)

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