Karin van der Walt – Conservation and Science Advisor, Otari Native Botanic Garden, Wellington.
Myrtle Rust is a fungal disease which impacts plants in the Myrtle family. The global pandemic strain of Myrtle Rust was discovered on mainland New Zealand in May 2017 and has now become established throughout most of the climatically suitable areas. Although the impact of Myrtle Rust on Syzygium maire (swamp maire) is not currently clear, it is likely to result in reproduction failure due to the destruction of flowers and fruit. Since Myrtle Rust is a windborne pathogen, there is limited options to protect natural plant populations and one of the only tools available is the long term storage of germplasm (seed, embryos, cells, shoots or pollen) which will enable us to grow more plants in future. Swamp maire seeds are however sensitive to drying and freezing (called recalcitrant) and can therefore not be conserved using conventional seed banking methods. The only alternative is through a process called cryopreservation during which embryos, removed from the fleshy seed, are treated and then stored in liquid nitrogen (at -196 degrees C).
- Our Lecture takes place in our Robin’s Nest building at Ngā Manu, 74 Ngā Manu Reserve Rd, Waikanae.
- Entry is by paper koha on the door.
- Please arrive at 3:30 pm for tea & biscuits and to take your seat.
- The Lecture will start promptly at 4 pm and finishes at 5 pm.