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Myrtle rust proves a pesky plague to plants

Brent Macdonald with a poster showing what the fungus does to plants.
Brent Macdonald with a poster showing what the fungus does to plants. Erin Smith

MYRTLE rust is to plants what the plague was to humans, only myrtle rust cannot be eradicated.

The fungal disease is highly contagious, in most cases fatal and almost impossible to control.

Southern Downs Garden Centre's Brent Macdonald said the fungal disease had not reached Warwick yet.

"It came in from South America and was first detected in New South Wales in April 2010," he said.

"It spread to Queensland that December and it is in Toowoomba."

The fungus has been found on more than 140 species of plants including those commonly found in gardens.

These species include eucalypt trees, willow myrtle, rose apple and scrub cherry.

Myrtle rust attacks young leaves, shoot tips and stems, as well as fruits and flower parts of susceptible plants.

Mr Macdonald said the tiny spores meant the spread could not be stopped.

"If you do find a plant with myrtle rust do not bring it to a nursery," he said.

"The fungus can be passed on through humans, water, birds and tools."

Report myrtle rust to Biosecurity Qld on 132 523.

 

The signs

  •  Purple lesions
  •  Fluffy-looking, egg-yolk yellow spores on underside of leaf
  •  Twisted leaves

Topics:  biosecurity queensland, environment, fungal disease, gardening, myrtle rust, plants


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