08 June 2012

NEWS: Myrtle Rust reaches Wet Tropics

The introduced plant disease Myrtle Rust has now naturalised in a number of areas in North Queensland. In the world heritage-listed Wet Tropics, Myrtle Rust has been found in ‘wild’ situations in the Mossman Gorge section of Daintree National Park, Barron Gorge and Kuranda National Park, at Smithfield Conservation Park near Cairns, and in a residential garden in Mareeba. Further south, it has now also been found in Mackay. The previous northern limit for naturalised occurrence was Yeppoon.

North Queensland has a large number of potentially susceptible species within the moist climatic zone favoured by the Rust.

Myrtle rust was first detected in Australia in April 2010 on the NSW Central Coast. It has since spread to affect a wide range of species in the Myrtaceae family including Australian natives such as eucalypts (Eucalyptus, Corymbia and Angophora spp.), bottle brush and paperbark (Callistemon and Melaleuca spp.), tea tree (Leptospermum spp.) and lilly-pilly (Syzygium spp.).

For more detail: North Queensland Register 24 May 2012

For current Queensland host list, and reporting and management advice, see Queensland Dept of Agriculture Fisheries & Forestry website.