Myrtle Rust Survey

Fighting myrtle rust with collections data. Myrtle rust on Geraldton Wax flower buds by John Tann, (CC BY 2.0) at

What is Myrtle Rust?

Myrtle rust (Austropuccinia psidii) is an introduced fungal pathogen that arrived in Australia in 2010. It spread rapidly throughout the east coast of Australia, impacting the ability of species in the Myrtaceae family to survive and reproduce. This family includes well known Australian plants such as the iconic eucalypts, lilly pillies, bottlebrushes, paperbarks and tea trees. These plants are synonymous with the Australian landscape, and many are found nowhere else in the world.

 Action is needed to better understand species susceptibility, secure ex situ collections, and protect at-risk ecological communities before it’s too late.

Myrtle Rust Survey

The Council of Heads of Australian Botanic Gardens (CHABG) and Botanic Gardens Australia & New Zealand (BGANZ) sought information from facilities that hold ex situ (off site) plant, seed or other germplasm collections of Myrtaceae species. Consolidating this information will help the plant conservation community to better understand the representation of Myrtaceae species in ex situ collections nation-wide. 

This survey closed at the end of November 2022. A copy of the survey will remain available for those interested in sharing their data. Completed surveys can be emailed to [email protected]

Survey Results

Responses were received from 26 organisations, including at least one in every Australian state/territory, as well as institutions in New Zealand and the United Kingdom that hold Australian Myrtaceae accessions.

Key findings:

Next Steps

The information collected through this survey will act as a baseline to enable botanic gardens, arboreta, nurseries, seed banks and researchers to strategically plan and manage their collections as well as supporting further research. The survey results will also be shared with governments, business and the philanthropic sectors so that policy makers and funding bodies have additional information to assist in the prioritisation of future resources. This includes the Threatened Species Commissioners office to inform the Threatened Species Strategy Action Plan 2021–2026, as well as the Myrtle Rust Working Group to implement the Myrtle Rust National Action Plan.


CHABG and BGANZ wish to acknowledge: 

  • The Australian Government Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water for provision of project funds, without which this work would not be possible.
  • The Australian Seed Bank Partnership secretariat for project coordination.
  • The National Myrtle Rust Working Group for providing their expertise in developing the survey.
  • All respondent institutions and staff who took time to provide their data for this survey.
  • The Australian National Botanic Gardens for in-kind funding to support data analysis.
  • Mr Rhys Tooth for providing data analysis services.
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