The number of properties infected with myrtle rust nationally has reached 26.

The affected properties include private gardens, plant nurseries and retailers and an orchard.

There are 21 infected properties in Taranaki, three in Northland and two in Waikato.

To date, the rust has been found on seedlings of pohutukawa, Lophomyrtus bullata (ramarama), eucalyptus, manuka and Syzygium smithii (acmena). It has not been observed on feijoa as yet.

While most of the infections are on seedlings, one of the most recent detections was an extensive outbreak in a very established pohutukawa hedge belt in Taranaki. The hedge has been safely removed and destroyed.

The Big Jims retail outlet in Taranaki, which had been closed for treatment, reopens for business tomorrow.