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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)