Verbenaceae - Lantana camara

What does it look like?

Lantana is a prickly, multi-stemmed, evergreen shrub that grows to 2-4m tall.  It has a strong odour of blackcurrant.  The small flowers grow in clusters, often with more than one colour in a single cluster, for example, yellow and pink.  Lantana camara var. aculeata is the most common variety of lantana in New Zealand and it has small cream and pink flowers.  Other varieties have other flower colours, such as orange.  The flowers are followed by small blue-black fruits.

Lantana can grow in agricultural areas, coast land, natural forests, planted forests, riparian zones, disturbed habitats, scrub, shrublands, urban areas and wetlands.

Why is it a problem?

Lantana produces many well-dispersed seeds, is long-lived, and forms dense thickets that exclude other species.  It is also allelopathic, that is, it produces toxins that poison the soil around it so other species cannot replace it.  Lantana is extremely versatile in its habitat preferences and tolerates drought, moderate shade, fire and a range of soil types, giving it the competitive advantage over native shrub species.


Control Methods

Herbicide control

Herbicide treatment is recommended over physical removal, as any root fragments left in the ground will sucker readily and quickly reinfest the area.

  • Spray in November to December with 100 ml/10 L glyphosate + penetrant.
  • Alternatively, cut back to ground level at any time and paint stumps with 200 ml/L glyphosate.

Check all treated sites regularly for seedlings and suckers. Replant with dense cover after two years and keep checking for newly germinated seedlings.

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