Myrtle Rust

Plant material sampled from a cut flower/foliage producer in NSW has been
confirmed as Uredo rangelii (Myrtle rust). This is the first time this fungus has
been found in Australia and is identified as a disease of significance in the
Nursery Industry Biosecurity Plan.

The Consultative Committee on Emergency Plant Pests (CCEPP) has agreed
that further survey work is required around the infected property. Trace forward
and trace back actions are occurring to find other possible incidents of this plant
rust. Infected plant material has and is being treated with fungicides to contain
the infection on site while further surveys are undertaken.

This is the first known identification of the Uredo rangelii (Myrtle rust) on Agonis
flexuosa (Willow Myrtle), a species native to Western Australia but planted widely
across Australia as an ornamental. Once more is known about the extent of
spread of the rust, a response plan will be considered by the CCEPP.

Myrtle Rust:

This plant disease is closely related to the fungi causing guava rust, which is
also known as eucalyptus rust, and part of a complex of rusts that infect the
Myrtaceae family of plants which include many Australian native species.
Rusts are highly transportable. Their spores can be spread via contaminated
clothing, infected plant material, on equipment and by insect movement and wind

These types of rust affect commercial plant growing operations and native
ecosystems. The response is being managed in consultation with state and
commonwealth environment agencies.

Industry Response:

The NGIA has agreed to distribute this Pest Alert nationally to encourage the
nursery industry to inspect your crops/stock and on-site vegetation for signs of
this rust disease. A fact sheet with photos of the disease and information on
identifying and reporting the disease is attached for industry to quickly detect any
further infected sites across Australia.