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Collaboration for conservation – diverse organisations join forces to save Native Guava

Collaboration for conservation – diverse organisations join forces to save Native Guava

Native Guava (Rhodomyrtus psidioides) was a common and widespread native plant before Myrtle Rust was introduced to Australia in 2010. However, this native rainforest tree has suffered catastrophic declines as a result of this pathogen.

Few adult trees now survive, and the species is mainly hanging on through old root systems that put up annual suckers, which are also killed by Myrtle Rust.

Because of this, Native Guava is now listed as Critically Endangered under Commonwealth, New South Wales and Queensland legislation. It is one of 30 priority plant species listed in the Australian Government’s Threatened Species Strategy Action Plan 2021-2026.

The Australian Network for Plant Conservation has led the ‘Safe Custody for Native Guava‘ project over the past 12 months. We wanted to create more robust insurance collections of this species and show how a cross-State response could conserve the species.

Dr Amelia Martyn Yenson, who led this project, believes working together was essential when piloting a dispersed-custody model.

“Sharing the responsibility of caring for Native Guava plants means there is less risk of losing valuable genetic diversity; it’s also been an effective way to share information about Myrtle Rust, its impact and management.”

The ANPC has been at the centre of attempts by concerned scientists and conservation practitioners to develop a coordinated and funded national response to Myrtle Rust.

The recent outbreak of Myrtle Rust on Lord Howe Island, a World Heritage Area, has highlighted the urgency of protecting native plants from extinction.


The Australian Network for Plant Conservation Inc. (ANPC) is a not-for-profit organisation that promotes and develops plant conservation in Australia.

For more information please contact:

Bob Makinson, ANPC Outreach Delegate and Myrtle Rust team member
Phone number:  0458 411 055


Phil Hurle monitoring plants at the Australian National Botanic Gardens (Credit Zoe Knapp)

Peter Gould with Native Guava at Lismore Rainforest Botanic Garden (Credit Michael Lawrence-Taylor).

Veronica Viler propagating plants at the Australian Botanic Garden Mount Annan (Credit Michael Lawrence-Taylor)

New section in Australasian Plant Conservation

New section in Australasian Plant Conservation

Do you have a great photo from the field, nursery, garden or lab? We’d love to share it in our new “Photos from…” section in Australasian Plant Conservation. This is your chance to capture a project highlight, show what’s growing in the garden or flaunt that scenic field work location.

We’re looking for one high resolution photo (preferably 300ppi) with a 1-2 paragraph summary to highlight what’s happening around Australia in plant conservation. Submission deadline for the winter issue is Monday 1 May. Send your images and captions to APC editor Nathan Emery at

To learn more about submission types and guidelines for our bulletin please visit our recently updated webpage

Australasian Myrtle Rust Conference

Australasian Myrtle Rust Conference

Weds 21 – Fri 23 June 2023 (field trip 24 June)
Holme Building, University of Sydney, Camperdown NSW would like to invite you to the Australasian Myrtle Rust Conference. This event will bring together researchers and experts from across Australia to discuss future Myrtle Rust management options and research priorities. Join us in Sydney from 21-23 June to discuss and learn about the latest research and management approaches. Be part of the conversation as we ask, “where to from here?”This event will include a poster session and optional field trip to view Myrtle Rust where it is heavily impacting Australian native plants.  The program outline with session themes is now available on the website with more details coming soon. Early bird registrations are open until Friday 31 March and abstract submissions will open soon.

Head to the website to find out more.

Webinar: Collective action provides hope for future recovery from Myrtle Rust

Webinar: Collective action provides hope for future recovery from Myrtle Rust

1 – 2:30 pm AEDT Wednesday 29 March 2023

Held on Teams, Click here to join the meeting at 1pm AEDT on Wednesday 29 March 2023

Myrtle Rust is known to infect close to 400 species of the Myrtaceae plant family in Australia, with a range of impact from minor to devastating. In the latter category is the rainforest tree Native Guava (Rhodomyrtus psidioides). However, collective action provides hope for future recovery.

An upcoming webinar, jointly hosted by the Botanic Gardens Australia and New Zealand (BGANZ) Collections and Records Management group (BCARM), with speakers from the Australian Network for Plant Conservation (ANPC) and the Australian Seed Bank Partnership (ASBP), will report on two recent projects directed at saving this and other species from imminent extinction.

In this webinar, you will hear from Bob Makinson and Amelia Martyn Yenson (ANPC) about the impact of Myrtle Rust on Native Guava and take the first look at our new video on the collaborative action providing hope in the face of rapid decline. This project is supported by funding from the Australian Government.

We’ll also hear from Bradley Desmond (Acting National Coordinator, ASBP) about an inventory of priority Myrtaceae species held in ex situ collections across Australia and New Zealand. The Council of Heads of Australian Botanic Gardens (CHABG) and BGANZ undertook the first country-wide stocktake of Myrtaceae insurance populations, to understand the ex-situ representation of this Myrtle Rust affected family, and inform strategic planning, management and research.