by Bronwyn Bancroft
136.5 x 44.5 cm
The definition of Myrtle is ‘an evergreen shrub which has glossy aromatic foliage and white flowers followed by purple black oval berries’. Sounds delightful!
The definition of rust is ‘a reddish- or yellowish-brown flaking coating of iron oxide that is formed on iron or steel by oxidation, especially in the presence of moisture’. Not so delightful an image.
A fungus that has now been identified as Myrtle Rust and is native to South America has migrated to Australia and is creating havoc. It looks like diseased skin that is being ravaged by the fungus on actively growing leaves that belong to many of our native trees, gum trees, bottle brush, tea tree, lilly pilly, paperbark, myrtle, guava and midgen berry. I created my painting to increase awareness and hopefully the eradication of this fungus that decimates the food sources that native animals rely on.
When our natural world is out of balance then our environment is weakened and as a result attacked in its most vulnerable areas.
If you are walking around and can identify Myrtle Rust on a leaf, then take a specimen, log where it is and send it to the local conservation mob. There are so many ways we can combat it collectively.