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Myrtle Rust

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Myrtle rust on Rhodamnia spp. foliage. (Photo: Courtesy of Biosecurity Queensland)

Myrtle rust on Rhodamnia spp. foliage. (Photo: Courtesy of Biosecurity Queensland)

Myrtle rust is a fungal disease that affects plants in the Myrtaceae family (including eucalypts, bloodwoods, bottlebrushes, paperbarks, tea trees, lilly pillies and water gums). The disease is spread by wind, human activity and animals.

Biosecurity Queensland has confirmed that myrtle rust has arrived in Hervey Bay. With its proximity to Fraser Island, an outbreak of the fungal disease is likely for Fraser Island in the near future. There have been community information sessions run in Hervey Bay and internal sessions to QPWS employees. As part of Rangers general duties, they are keeping a keen eye out for the arrival of the disease on Fraser Island.

Myrtle rust is recognised by spots or lesions that are brown to grey, they often have red to purple haloes that go all the way through the leaf. After 10-12 days after the plant has been affected, the masses of yellow-orange spores appear on the lesion surface.

Myrtle rust has the potential to have a significant impact on Queensland’s biodiversity. When visiting Fraser Island ensure that clothes, equipment and vehicles are clean

The most important thing to remember is not to move any infected plant material when a suspected outbreak has been sighted. Avoid contact with any part of the plant. Take note of the plants location and if possible take photos. Report all suspected infected plants immediately to Biosecurity Queensland 13 25 23 or Exotic Plant Pest Hotline 1800 084 881. For more information on myrtle rust, visit www.biosecurity.qld.gov.au