Many people may have heard about the outbreak of myrtle rust (Uredo rangelii
) a fungal pathogen of the Myrtaceae family, which shows severe symptoms on affected plants - including bushfoods of this family. So-far it's occurring in the coastal areas of New South Wales (Central Coast to Northern Rivers) and south-east Queensland. It's hoped that it will stay confined to the more humid coastal zones, and not extend into drier regions. However, it's spread can not be controlled at this late stage, and strategies are more around adaptation. The spores are spread by wind.
The bushfoods that are so-far infected include:Acmena
- Aniseed MyrtleBackhousia citriodora
- Lemon MyrtleBackhousia myrtifolia
- Cinnamon MyrtleMelaleuca quinquenervia
- Broad-leaf PaperbarkRhodomyrtus psidioide
s - Native GuavaSyzygium australe
- Brush CherrySyzygium luehmannii
There are quarantine regulations in place and anybody moving plant material of these species to outside the infected areas need to be aware of the potential restrictions.http://www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/biosecurity/plant/myrtle-rust
If anyone finds myrtle rust, report it to your local Primary Industries people.
It's still early days with this disease, and there's many unknowns about the long-term effect. There is also contradictory information coming from different sources, and it may take a while to get a clearer picture on exactly what is happening.