Calling Out a Bully: Lantana Camara

I loved this flower, of course this was before I was able to identify it and after I had propagated it into my garden (moments when I’m actually thankful it’s in containers), once identified I was shocked.

I’ve found a lot of sites that describe how easy it is to grow. It enjoys bright and full sun, and thrives in almost any kind of soil, it resists drought, heat, deer, and salt. It’s also a butterfly magnet. So, what’s not to love about it?

Lanatana bush

The controversy behind the genus with 150 species of perennial flowering plants is that species identification is of utter importance.

Several Lantana varieties are poisonous to stock. It is difficult to tell which varieties are toxic so it’s recommended to treat all forms as potentially poisonous. The toxins in lantana include the triterpene acids, lantadene A (rehmannic acid), lantadene B, and their reduced forms.


Lanatana Camara

AKA the curse of India (does it give you a hint) Lantana is mainly spread by fruit-eating birds and mammals. It’s a woody shrub which forms dense thickets that smother and kill native vegetation and are impenetrable to animals. It is also important to consider that Lantanas have combustible canes, which have been blamed for several bush-fires.

Lantana is a serious weed of commercial eucalypt and pine plantations, competing with tree seedlings for light and nutrients, it interferes with plantation access,management and reduces forestry production.

Case Studies

  • Queensland, Australia where lantana covers more than 5 million ha extending from New South Wales to Far North Queensland. Lantana Camara and Lantana Montevidensis are restricted invasive plants under the Biosecurity Act 2014. S Reports state 1400 native species are negatively affected by the plants invasion.
  • Florida, U.S.A where Lantana Camara is considered a Category 1 invasive species, by the Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council.
  • Asia – Pacific Forest Invasive Species Network
  • South Africa areas which have been affected by the Lantana include Western Cape, Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga, Limpopo, North West. Lantana Camara has been responsible for livestock mortalities amounting to millions of Rands every year in South Africa.
  • The Global Invasive Species Programme (GISP) in association with The World Conservation Union, Species Survival Commission, Blonet and Invasive Species Specialist Group (ISSG) included Lantana Camara in the 100 OF THE WORLD’S WORST INVASIVE ALIEN SPECIES list.

These are just some sites, I just wanted to share this info because as we know sometimes it’s more important to sell a plant, than conservation and preservation.


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