Witch's Broom is a very common fungal pathogen with a complicated lifecycle involving bearberries & spruce trees. It stimulates the tree to put out shoots of abnormally dense, broomlike growth. I suspect that the brooms outgrow the local nutrient supply & die, thus becoming fungus food. Here is a tree with a couple of brooms on it. More info: www.fs.fed.us/r10/spf/fhp/leaflets/Sprbrorus.htm
The white is just lichen, ubiquitous on dead branches.
on underside of Vernonia gigantea leaf
on Crataegus punctatum leaf
A wild shrub down at the farm - not sure it's related to quince
On one of our cedar trees down at the farm.
The Pucciniomycetes (formerly known as the Urediniomycetes) are a class of fungi in the Pucciniomycotina subdivision of the Basidiomycota. The class contains 5 orders, 21 families, 190 genera, and 8016 species. It includes several important plant pathogens causing forms of fungal rust.