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Pest and Disease Information Service:  Freecall 1800 084 881

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Myrtle rust infection on wandoo under laboratory conditions - Photo © Louise Morin, CSIRO

What is myrtle rust?

Myrtle rust (Puccinia psidii sensu lato), is a serious fungal disease that attacks and kills many plants belonging to the Myrtaceae family.

Possible impact in Western Australia

The likely impacts of myrtle rust in Western Australia, if it arrived here, are unknown. It is possible that myrtle rust could devastate our jarrah, karri, tuart and wandoo forests and other native habitats, including species already at high risk (particularly threatened plants).

Myrtle rust could also have an economic impact on eucalypt or oil mallee plantations, commercial honey and native flower production, and the garden industry, as well as tourism if natural landscapes were badly damaged.

There are 1,215 species in the Myrtaceae family in Western Australia, all of which could be at risk. Conditions in the south west of Western Australia are favourable to the development of the disease.

What to look for

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Myrtle rust infection on Geraldton wax under laboratory conditions - Photo © L Morin, CSIRO

What to do if you find myrtle rust

If myrtle rust becomes widely established in the state, it will be extremely difficult to eradicate.

Myrtle rust infection on scarlet or crimson kunzea under laboratory conditions - Photo © L Morin, CSIRO

How you can help

The best defence against myrtle rust will be early detection. Everyone in the community can do their bit.

Further information

Climate suitability map for Myrtle rust in the south west of Western Australia
Climate suitability map for myrtle rust in south west Western Australia.
Darker red areas indicate higher climate suitability.
Produced using data provided by Darren Kriticos, CSIRO.