Australia > > Lantana
|THIS PLANT HAS BEEN DECLARED A WEED OF NATIONAL SIGNIFICANCE|
Origin: Hybrid of garden origin; parents from tropical America.
Flowers/Seedhead: Flowers: Flowers yellow, orange, red, pink, purple, white or a combination of these. Flowerheads terminal, to 3 cm wide. Flowers most of the year.
Description: A variable sprawling thicket-forming perennial shrub to 5 m high and many metres wide or climbing to 15 m high. Leaves mostly to 7 cm long and to 4 cm wide, opposite, upper surface wrinkled and with rigid short hairs, lower surface often hairy, margins toothed. Leaves exude unpleasant odour when crushed. Fruit green at first, ripening black, 1-seeded. Seeds yellow-brown, to 4 mm long.
Distinguishing features: Distinguished by colourful Flowerheads composed of tubular flowers, to 12 mm long; recurved thorns on young stems of some varieties; stems 4-angled at first but becoming round with age.
Dispersal: Spread mainly by bird-dispersed seed. Also spread by stems touching the ground and developing shoots and roots (adventitious roots).
Flowers may be white, yellow, pink & red, Lismore, NSW, April
Notes: Introduced to Australia before 1850. Hardy, showy plant. Invasive from tropics to warm temperate zones. Plants smother vegetation to 15 m tall. Leaves and seeds of some varieties are toxic to stock, causing photosensitisation and damage to liver, kidneys and gut. Lantana infests over 4 million hectares of pasture and many millions of hectares of open woodland and open forest in Australia. Programs aimed at biocontrol of Lantana began in 1914 but without a lot of success.
Noxious Weeds of Australia. W. Parsons and E. Cuthbertson, 1992, pages 627–632. The Biology of Australian Weeds. F. Panetta et al. (eds), Vol. 2, 1998, pages 119–140.