Myrtle Rust (Uredo rangelii) is a fungus, first detected in Australia on the central coast of New South Wales in April 2010 and more recently has been discovered in Queensland.
Myrtle Rust can cause a very serious disease in Australian native plants in the Myrtaceae family. This includes plants like bottle brushes, tea trees and eucalypts.
The fungus causes the plants’ leaves to deform and it may kill the plant. Because this is newly discovered, the full extent of the disease is yet to be understood.
Myrtle Rust has already impacted on recreation access and led to the realignment of trail routes to quarantine infected areas as land managers try to limit the spread of this pathogen.
Myrtle Rust produces distinct powdery bright yellow (sometime orangey-yellow) spores on the leaves, stems, flowers and fruits. Lesions on the plant can be purple or dark brown.
If you see an infected plant, do not touch it and never collect a sample. Take a photo and note your location. To report suspected incidences of Myrtle Rust call Queensland Biosecurity on 13 25 23 as soon as possible.
If there is any chance that you have come in contact with the fungus, change into fresh clothes and wash your hands, face and footwear to prevent it spreading. Clean your shoes with a 70% methylated spirits or benzyl alkonium chloride disinfectant.
After any engagement with our natural areas, always clean your clothes, shoes, and equipment (including tent pegs, vehicles, horses) to prevent the spread of a wide range of diseases.
In Queensland, you can learn more about Myrtle Rust by visiting: www.dpi.qld.gov.au/4790_17185.htm
The Myrtle Rust flyer can be downloaded from the QORF website: www.qorf.org.au/_dbase_upl/MyrtleRust%Flyer.pdf
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