More Info

Friday, April 3, 2009

Lantana camara

Lantana camara, also known as Spanish Flag, is native to tropical regions in Central and South America. Lantana camara has been introduced into other parts of the world as an ornamental plant, it is considered an invasive species in many tropical areas.

It is sometimes known as "red (yellow, wild) sage", despite its classification in a separate family to sage (Lamiaceae), and a different order to sagebrush (Asterales).


Lantana camara has become naturalized in tropical and warm regions worldwide. In the Kenyan highlands it grows in many areas that receive even minimal amounts of rainfall. It can be seen in the wild and along footpaths, deserted fields, and farms. Lantana has been naturalized in the United States, particularly in the Atlantic coastal plains, from Florida to Georgia, where the climate is close to its native climate, with high heat and humidity.


Lantana has become popular in gardens, for its hardy nature. It is not affected by pests or disease, has low water requirements, and handles extreme heat. It is a favorite species of butterflies, and used in butterfly gardens in the United States.

Ecological impact

Lantana camara is an invasive species and has covered large areas in India', Australia' and much of Africa. It colonizes new areas when its seeds are dispersed by birds. Once it reaches an area, Lantana camara spreads quickly. It coppices so well, that efforts to eradicate it have completely failed. It is resistant to fire, and quickly grows in and colonizes burnt areas. It has become a serious obstacle to the natural regeneration of important native species including Sal in Southeast Asia, as well as plants in 22 other countries. In greenhouses, lantana is notorious for attracting whitefly.

While considered a pest in Australia, it shelters several native marsupial species from predators, and offers a habitat for the vulnerable Exoneura native bee, which nests in the hollow stems of the plant.

Lantana camara has been reported to make animals ill after ingestion. The berries are edible when ripe though like many fruit are mildly poisonous to humans and livestock if eaten while still green. Lantana has been listed as a Category One "Invasive Toxic Species" in Florida by the Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council, and has become a problem in Texas and Hawaii.

No comments: