The rust fungi cause some of the most economically important plant diseases. They also have evolved complex life cycles involving two unrelated host plants and up to five spore stages. The ancient Romans made sacrifices to a rust god in hopes of protecting their wheat from rust. Modern scientific studies of fungal life cycles have led to better management of rust diseases. However, rust diseases still limit our ability to produce cereals (such as wheat), soybeans, apples, and trees for lumber (such as white pine). Rusts are common on many garden plants, including daylily, hollyhock, and rose.
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