Myrtle Rust (Uredo rangelii)
Myrtle rust is an introduced fungal pathogen that affects plants in the Myrtaceae family such as bottle brush, tea tree and eucalypts. It produces large numbers of spores that are easily spread by wind, human activity and animals. Myrtle rust attacks young, soft actively growing leaves, shoot tips, young stems, fruits and flower parts of susceptible plants (read more on identification).
The disease was first reported in a central NSW plant nursery in April 2010 but within months had spread to the north and south of the state and into Queensland. The Australian National Botanic Gardens in Canberra held a workshop on 10 March 2011 to explore options to manage the outbreak of this South American fungal disease. Australia ’s leading plant and fungal scientists joined industry and government agencies to discuss this threat to botanic gardens but also the broader issue of managing the exotic disease in the Australian bush, national parks and reserves.