Territorians urged to check citrus plants

The Department of Primary Industry and Resources is urging the public to check their citrus plants for the suspected citrus canker disease.

A number of citrus plants showing signs of infection were removed from nurseries in Darwin and Palmerston. It is thought that three citrus plants were sold from a Darwin nursery and three sold from a Palmerston nursery.

The department has strong evidence to suggest the plants are infected with citrus canker.

Early detection, reporting and not moving infected plants is vital, and will give the department the best chance of eradicating this disease. The department is asking the public to check their citrus plants for symptoms.

Citrus canker does not affect human health or animals and infected fruit is safe to be consumed.

The disease is a serious disease of citrus and was detected on a species of West Indian lime and samples collected from grapefruit, Kaffir lime and Tahitian lime are also being tested.

Citrus canker is a contagious disease caused by the bacteria Xanthomonas citri subsp. citri which can affect all citrus plants.

Plants that were purchased over the past 12 months are of particular concern. The symptoms of citrus canker include blister-like lesions on leaves, stems and fruit that are raised, tan to brown in colour, and are surrounded by an oily, water-soaked margin and a yellow ring or halo. Large or older lesions may have a crater-like appearance.

The department is currently asking all Territorians with citrus plants to please urgently check them for symptoms, not to move the plants and to contact the department if you think it may be infected with the disease.

If you think you have a plant with citrus canker, or if you have recently bought citrus plants from a Darwin or Palmerston retail nursery, please contact the citrus canker hotline on 1800 931 722.

You should not collect a sample or move the suspect plant. When phoning the hotline you can arrange to submit a photo for preliminary diagnosis. The photo should be a clear image of the suspect plant and the plant’s label, if you still have it.

Find out more about citrus canker.