Lantana camara

Lantana camara, Photo: Augusta Stylianou, Artist

Cladus: Eukaryota
Regnum: Plantae
Divisio: Magnoliophyta
Classis: Magnoliopsida
Ordo: Lamiales
Familia: Verbenaceae
Genus: Lantana
Species: L. camara


Lantana camara L.

Lantana camara, Photo: Michael Lahanas


* Species Plantarum 2:627. 1753

Vernacular Names
Deutsch: Wandelröschen
Nederlands: Verkleurbloem
Tagalog: Kantutay; coronitas
中文: 馬櫻丹
Bân-lâm-gú: Má-eng-ta


Lantana camara, also known as Spanish Flag or West Indian Lantana, is a species of flowering plant in the verbena family, Verbenaceae, that is native to the American tropics.[2][3][4] Its native range includes Mexico, Central America, the Greater Antilles, The Bahamas, Colombia, and Venezuela.[1] It is believed to be indigenous to the Lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas in the United States.[5] Lantana camara has been introduced into other parts of the world as an ornamental plant and is considered an invasive species in many tropical areas.[6]

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.[7] 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.[8] West Indian 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.[3]

Ecological impact

L. camara is an invasive species and has covered large areas in India, Australia and much of Africa.[9] It colonizes new areas when its seeds are dispersed by birds. Once it reaches an area, L. 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.[10] It has become a serious obstacle to the natural regeneration of important native species including the Shala Tree (Shorea robusta) in Southeast Asia, as well as plants in 22 other countries. In greenhouses, L. camara is notorious for attracting whitefly.[7][11]

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.

L. camara has been reported to make animals ill after ingestion.[7] The pentacyclic triterpenoids its foliage contains cause hepatotoxicity and photosensitivity in grazing animals such as sheep, goats, bovines,[12] and horses.[13] Livestock foraging on the plant has led to widespread losses in the United States, South Africa, India, Mexico, and Australia.[12] The berries are edible when ripe[14] though like many fruit are mildly poisonous to humans and livestock if eaten while still green. L. camara 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.[11][3]


Some communities have found alternate uses for West Indian Lantana, as it is difficult to eradicate. Some household furniture, such as tables and chairs are made from the stalks, or the small branches are bundled together to make brooms.[8]

As an ornamental

West Indian Lantana has become popular in gardens for its hardy nature. It is not affected by pests or disease, has low water requirements, and is tolerant of extreme heat. It is a favorite species of butterflies, and used in butterfly gardens in the United States.[3] Wild species may have short, hooked prickles.[15] Lantana cultivars favored as ornamentals tend to have small herbaceous stems.


1. ^ a b "Lantana camara L.". Germplasm Resources Information Network. United States Department of Agriculture. 2007-05-29. Retrieved 2009-10-21.
2. ^ Efren and Luisa Gonzalez (2007). "Fill your garden with sunshine". The Western Sun Newspaper. Retrieved September 19, 2007.
3. ^ a b c d Floridata LC (2007). "Lantana camara". Floridata LC. Retrieved September 19, 2007.
4. ^ Moyhill Publishing (2007). "English vs. Latin Names". Moyhill Publishing. Retrieved September 19, 2007.
5. ^ Hagne, Martin (2009-01-01). "Native Lantana Species of the LRGV" (PDF). The Sabal (Native Plant Project) 26 (1): 3.
6. ^ New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Service (2007). "Lantana - fact sheet". Department of Environment and Climate Change - NSW. Retrieved September 19, 2007.
7. ^ a b c Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council (2005). "Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council: Lantana camanara" (PDF). Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council. Retrieved September 19, 2007.
8. ^ a b Khanna, L. S.; Prakash, R. (1983). Theory and Practice of silvicultural Systems. International Book Distributions. pp. 400 pages.
9. ^ ISSG database: Lantana camara (accessed 30 April 2009)
10. ^ Hiremath, Ankila; Bharath Sundram. (2005). The Fire-Lantana Cycle Hypothesis in Indian Forests. Conservation and Society.
11. ^ a b Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council (2005). "Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council: List of Invasive Species". Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council. Retrieved September 19, 2007.
12. ^ a b Barceloux, Donald G. (2008). Medical Toxicology of Natural Substances: Foods, Fungi, Medicinal Herbs, Plants, and Venomous Animals. John Wiley and Sons. pp. 867–868. ISBN 9780471727613.
13. ^ Burns, Deborah (2001). Storey's Horse-Lover's Encyclopedia: an English & Western A-to-Z Guide. Storey Publishing. p. 302. ISBN 9781580173179.
14. ^ Herzog et al. (1996), Coppens d'Eeckenbrugge & Libreros Ferla (2000), TAMREC (2000)
15. ^ "Lantana camara on". 2009. Retrieved October 29, 2009.

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