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Mysterious orange dust from Ohio pear trees identified as fungus

June 25 (UPI) -- A mysterious orange dust coating yards and sidewalks in an Ohio town has been identified by experts as a fungus falling from local pear trees.

Residents in Sharonville said Bradford pear trees have long been a staple of the town, but this was the first year that an unusual orange dust sprinkled the ground near the trees.

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"It's just so thick... like orange Cheetos or like sidewalk chalk that somebody ground up and just kind of scattered but it's under each individual tree so you can just kind of look down the street and see these little pops of orange all over the sidewalk," resident Julie Dietrich told WXIX-TV.

Joe Boggs, an assistant professor of horticulture at Ohio State University, said the dust is an orange fungus falling from the fruit on the trees.

Boggs said the fungus might cause allergies in some residents, but most people can expect the worst-case result to be stains on their shoes.

"It's a good thing we're not plants. Plant diseases don't typically affect people. In fact, I can't even think of a single example so I wouldn't worry about that but when you do watch the weather, you see the spore count," Boggs said.

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He said the dust has recently been found in other Ohio locations with similar pear trees.

"The source of the orange patina appears to be Gymnosporangium clavipes; the cedar-quince rust fungus," he told WCPO-TV.

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