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

Physical control

  • Dig out plants, dry thoroughly and compost or burn.
  • Cut of at ground level and cover stump with thick black plastic for 6 months or until rotted.

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 spring and summer with 100ml glyphosate (360g/l) + penetrant per 10L water
  • Cut and stump paint with 200 ml glyphosate per litre water.
  • Cut and stump paint with glyphosate gel or metgel, or
  • Cut and stump paint with 50mL Tordon Brush killer or 25mL triclopyr per 1L diesel

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

CAUTION: When using any herbicide or pesticide, PLEASE READ THE LABEL THOROUGHLY to ensure that all instructions and safety requirements are followed. 

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