Coral Spot, Nectria cinnabarina
Nectriaceae or Coral Spot Family

Infected branch

Grows in dead wood but can infect hardwood trees that have been weakened by other stresses. Infection may lead to death of the branch, causing it to break off during storms. Visible as a small, apricot-colored disk, which produces asexual spores (conidia), early in the year (not shown). The disk later develops into a cluster of sexual structures (called perithecia), which release the sexual spores (ascospores). The perithecia are very small, about the size of a pin-head, red, with yellowish flecks, soft at first. They harden into dark red balls.

Occurs in Wildwood, but it is anybody's guess how common it is. Unlikely to be noticed unless one is looking for it. To find it, examine dead, fallen branches closeup.

There are other species of Nectria, which can be distinguished only by microscopic characters; however this species is the most likely.

Perithecia on infected branch


Closeup from side

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