Learning to live with myrtle rust fungi

Yellow pustules are a tell-tale symptom of the exotic plant fungal disease myrtle rust. Photo courtesy Dr Angus Carnegie, I&I NSW

‘Please don’t take plants you suspect to be infected with myrtle rust into botanic gardens or nurseries!’

That was they key message from yesterday’s workshop at the Australian National Botanic Gardens.

The 40 or so leading plant and fungal scientists attending the workshop all agreed that we need to learn to live with myrtle rust – which means containing and controlling it. We explored options for managing the outbreak which affects some of Australia’s most iconic plants, including eucalypts, bottle brush, tea tree and other members of the Myrtaceae family.

At the Australian National Botanic Gardens in Canberra, we’re developing a management strategy to protect the 65,000 native plants that showcase Australia’s floral diversity. For a comprehensive look at the perils of myrtle rust, tune into ABC Bush Telegraph’s podcast.

If you have a plant you suspect may be infected with myrtle rust you can email a photo to us at : anbg-info@anbg.gov.au

Judy West, Australian National Botanic Gardens