Myrtle Rust

rust-myrtleAn exotic plant disease now in Mackay

Myrtle Rust Uredo rangelii  is a serious fungal disease affecting the plant family Myrtaceae, which includes many Australian natives commonly found in our gardens, parks and natural environment. Paperbarks, Bottlebrushes, Lilly-pillies, Beach Cherry and Lemon-scented Myrtle are just some of the plants affected. The disease causes plant tissue to deform and die and is identified by its distinctive bright yellow spores and red pustules. The disease is easily spread on plants, via wildlife and on clothing and vehicles.

Recently introduced into Australia - Myrtle Rust is now widespread on our eastern seaboard from Victoria to the Wet Tropics. Myrtle Rust may slow regeneration of our native forests and could change forest biodiversity by reducing species and causing canopy leaf loss, affecting normal light and shade.

On May 8  2012, Biosecurity Queensland confirmed that Myrtle Rust had been found in Mackay on private property. On May 9, it was confirmed that Myrtle Rust had been detected at the Mackay Regional Botanic Gardens. The disease continues to spread and has now been recorded in several suburbs and natural environment areas around Mackay including Andergrove, Beaconsfield, Bucasia, Marian, North Mackay, Sarina, Slade Point, South Mackay and West Mackay.
The Mackay Regional Botanic Gardens is continuing to implement its Myrtle Rust Procedure to help protect our site from the spread of Myrtle Rust.

What can you do?

We can’t stop the disease but we can minimize the speed that it spreads. Please do not take home plant material from the Mackay Regional Botanic Gardens and if you find Myrtle Rust in your garden – follow the recommendations on the Biosecurity Queensland website www.daff.qld.gov.au  

Report your finding to Biosecurity Queensland – click on the Myrtle Rust link on the website and upload email photos of the suspect material. To avoid spreading the disease, do not touch, move or collect samples of the suspect plant and please never bring in plants to identify at the Mackay Regional Botanic Gardens. The website advises of a range of treatments for your home garden.

If you see Myrtle Rust at a Council Park – please notify the Mackay Regional Botanic Gardens by email botanic@mackay.qld.gov.au or by calling 4952 7300.

Download the Myrtle Rust brochure (PDF 990KB)