Tongues of Fire - Gymnosporangium clavariiforme


The fruiting bodies produced by the telial stage of the fungal rust Gymnosporangium clavariiforme and known as Tongues of Fire can be quite spectacular, growing to 1 cm long and rich orange in colour. They appear in clusters growing directly from the wood of the branches of Wild Juniper (Juniperus communis). Since it causes an increase in either the number or size of its host’s cells (or both) it is also classed as a gall causer. A second generation of galls appear in summer on Hawthorn.

Identification difficulty

Anywhere that Wild Juniper (Juniperus communis) and Hawthorn are found.

When to see it

Tongues of fire appear in spring, the Hawthorn galls of the second generation appear in summer.

Life History

Grows on Wild Juniper (Juniperus communis) with a second generation forming a gall on Hawthorn.

UK Status

Records from Britain are widespread but scattered and local, relying on the presence of the host plant Wild Juniper.

VC55 Status

Rare in Leicestershire and Rutlland. The Fosse Meadows record of 25th March 2011 was the first record for Tongues of Fire in VC55 where Wild Juniper is rarely found.

Leicestershire & Rutland Map


Yellow squares = NBN records (all known data)
Coloured circles = NatureSpot records: 2020+ | 2015-2019 | pre-2015

UK Map