Weed Identification

Australia > > Lantana


Lantana camara


Family: Verbenaceae.

Form: Shrub

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 627632. The Biology of Australian Weeds. F. Panetta et al. (eds), Vol. 2, 1998, pages 119140.

Fruit is one-seeded


Forms dense thickets, Lamington, Qld, Sept
photo J.R. Hosking

This weed has been included in the WEEDeck field guide as card S03

More information about WEEDeck is available from Sainty & Associates Pty. Ltd.


Australia > > Lantana


National Weeds Strategy
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