I found a seemingly diseased tree when I was out playing tennis yesterday... What is growing on this tree leaf? Is this a disease? If so, is it contagious? I have zero knowledge in botany, but I'm curious about what is happening to these trees. :)
The fungus only thrives in the presence of both Juniperus virginiana (Eastern red cedar) and apple (Malus spp.) trees.
The leaf in the picture belongs to some species of the apple genus and the growths are aecia of G. juniperi-virginianae. You can read about this interesting fungi through Rutger's Plant & Pest Advisory here.
Below is a visual of the telia of the rust fungus on J. virginiana:
(Photo source: Ada Hayden Herbarium)