This app is for observing common host plants that may be susceptible to myrtle rust and getting assistance from others to confirm your identification. The app can then be used for reporting potential infestations of myrtle rust to the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI).
Myrtle rust is a serious biosecurity threat to NZ. We need your help to protect our natural and productive environments. As citizen scientists one way to help is by mapping potential host plants and then monitoring them periodically for signs of the disease.
We would like you to find a dozen plants in your neighbourhood that are potential hosts of myrtle rust. You can map them using the app. We have chosen 6 of the most common host plant species and have fact sheets on each to assist you in their identification. If you are unsure of a plant you can submit an observation of it and the NatureWatchNZ community will help you identify it. There are many plants from the myrtle family and if you want to choose a different myrtle species just click on the ‘record a different myrtle’ button.
Once you have located these plants keep an eye on them. They are the sentinels in your neighbourhood. If you see something suspicious that might be myrtle rust then submit your observation of the symptoms via the app (ideally take a photo of the upper surface of the leaf and ensure you include at least one entire leaf so that the identity of the host species can be confirmed) and ring MPI immediately on 0800 80 99 66 to discuss your observation.
Sometimes it is hard to get a decent photo of small things but you can take useful photos with smart phones through a magnifying glass or hand lens, if you have one. There are also affordable clip-on macro lenses you can buy for smart phones if you're keen.
This app is built with NatureWatch NZ
, the New Zealand online community for nature watchers, naturalists and biodiversity experts. It is part of the global iNaturalist network. You can sign into the app with your existing NatureWatch NZ account, if you have one, or you can make a new one here in this app.
This app was built with support from an Envirolink Grant to Northland Regional Council, the Ministry for Primary Industries and Scion.