Mate Waikura Myrtle
Myrtle rust is new to Aotearoa / New Zealand. Keep up to date with the latest science here and know what to do if you find it.
Myrtle rust is a plant disease caused by the fungus Austropuccinia psidii. It produces powder-like spores that spread through direct contact or by the wind. Once established on a host tree or shrub, it destroys new growth and soft tissue, eventually killing the plant.
Aotearoa has 37 native myrtles, some of which are not found anywhere else in the world. Common examples include:
Many non-native species that are widely distributed across Aotearoa are also susceptible to myrtle rust, including:
- lilly pilly
- monkey apple.
Myrtle rust is a serious threat to our biodiversity. Because it is a recent arrival in Aotearoa, it is hard to predict how damaging it will be. Citizen science, where the public involved in monitoring and analysis, is essential to us knowing how myrtle rust spreads and what impact it has.
You can help stop the spread by:
- becoming knowledgeable about which plants are susceptible
- reporting infections on the iNaturalist website or report suspected cases using the contact us form
- not using lilly pilly (monkey apple, Syzygium smithii) as a hedging plant, because it is very susceptible to myrtle rust.
Start with these resources
Find and report myrtle rust in New Zealand
The national website for information about myrtle rust, including what it looks like and what you can do if you find it.
Find out more
Science Learning Hub on myrtle rust
A science education resource about myrtle rust including a map of myrtle rust locations.
Beyond myrtle rust
A collaborative, multi faceted research programme aimed to study the behaviour, ecology and impacts of myrtle rust.