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Biocontrol introduction

Target pest: Cirsium arvense (Asterales: Asteraceae), Californian thistle

Agent introduced: Puccinia punctiformis (Uredinales: Pucciniaceae), Californian thistle rust


Waipara et al. (2009) - P. punctiformis was first recorded in New Zealand as early as 1881.

Release details:

Landcare Research (2014c) - self-introduced.


Waipara et al. (2009) - subsequent to its accidental introduction to New Zealand, P. punctiformis was used as an augmentative biocontrol agent against Cirsium arvense and a recent comparative survey has shown that this pathogen occurs in New Zealand at levels similar to its native range of Europe.

Landcare Research (2014c) - common.

Impacts on target:

Landcare Research (2014c) - damage not usually widespread.

Impacts on non-targets:

Waipara et al. (2009) - to assess non-target impacts of pathogenic weed biocontrol agents, including Puccinia punctiformis, introduced to New Zealand, nationwide surveys were conducted 2000-2009, focussing on plants closely related to the target weeds. No non-target damage was observed for P. punctiformis, despite positive infection being observed on many of the host (target) plants at the same sites.


Landcare Research (2014c). Who's who in biocontrol of weeds? What's new in biological control of weeds? 69: 10-11 http://www.landcareresearch.co.nz/publications/newsletters/biological-control-of-weeds/issue-69

Waipara NW, Barton J, Smith LA, Harman HM, Winks CJ, Massey B, Wilkie JP, Gianotti AF, Cripps MG (2009). Safety in New Zealand weed biocontrol: a nationwide pathogen survey for impacts on non-target plants. New Zealand Plant Protection 62: 41-49