Myrtle Rust (Uredo rangelii) is an exotic fungal disease known to infect a variety of genera in the family Myrtaceae. The current outbreak has been detected on cultivated plants of Callistemon (Bottlebrush), Agonis flexuosa, and Syncarpia (Turpentine). Overseas it has been known to affect Syzygium species, among others. Early identification of this rust is vital to eradication efforts. Information relating to Myrtle Rust (symptoms, host range, management) is available at www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/biosecurity/plant/myrtle-rust
In NSW Myrtle Rust is a notifiable pest under the Plant Disease Act, and must be reported to Industry & Investment NSW (I& I NSW). Industry is encouraged to actively inspect all Myrtaceae stock on their property and implement effective biosecurity measures (hygiene, crop protection programs, access restrictions, quarantine) to avoid contracting and potentially spreading the disease.
The quarantine zone “restricts movement of Myrtaceae (Myrtle Rust host) and/or covering, packaging, machinery or items carrying Myrtle Rust or used in the culture, harvest, packing of host plant material out of the Quarantine Zone is prohibited subject to meeting movement conditions”.
I&I NSW is developing Compliance Agreements for nursery businesses growing or supplying Myrtaceae to adopt and become accredited to allow movement of host range material into greater NSW. It must be noted receipt of Myrtaceae outside the Quarantine Zone in NSW will require the receiver to ensure they deal with an Accredited Business to ensure the consignment meets the I & I NSW Quarantine Zone Compliance Agreement.
Industry and others are encouraged to report any suspected detection to the Exotic Plant Pest Hotline - 1800 084 881.