18 December 2010


The plant fungal disease Myrtle Rust (Uredo rangelii), recently introduced to Australia and naturalising on the Central Coast of New South Wales, has now been recorded as infecting plants of three eucalypt species in the wild: Eucalyptus agglomerata (Blue-leaved Stringybark), E. deanei (Mountain Blue Gum, Round-leaved Gum), and E. pilularis (Blackbutt).

Myrtle Rust is a member of the Eucalypt Rust/Guava Rust disease complex, native to tropical America, that infects members of the plant family Myrtaceae. Some variants of the complex have a history of infection of plantation eucalypts in the Americas. Until very recently Myrtle Rust in Australia had been found only on non-eucalypt members of the family Myrtaceae, and there had been some hope that this variant of the complex was not amenable to eucalypt hosts. To date, Myrtle Rust in Australia has been recorded on 25 species of native plants, eight of them in the wild.

Background on Myrtle Rust is available at: http://www.anbg.gov.au/anpc/resources.html#Key_issues, and at http://www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/biosecurity/plant/myrtle-rust. Weekly updates are available by free subscription at http://www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/biosecurity/plant/myrtle-rust/update

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