Lantana

What is lantana?

(Lantana camara)
Lantana flowering plant, photo: New South Wales Agriculture
  • Lantana is a declared weed in Tasmania under the Tasmanian Weed Management Act 1999. The importation, sale and distribution of lantana are prohibited in Tasmania.
  • The legal responsibilities of landholders and other stakeholders in dealing with lantana are laid out in the Statutory Weed Management Plan for Lantana.

What does lantana look like?

  • Lantana is a tough, evergreen shrub growing to 4 metres in height. The stems are squarish and hairy, rough to the touch and have short recurved prickles. The leaves are opposite, oval, hairy underneath and toothed along the margin. Both stems and leaves give off an offensive smell when crushed. The tube-like flowers occur in brilliant clusters that vary in colour between plants and during the life of a single plant. The fruit is a succulent purple berry carried in clusters of 1 to 20 fruits.
  • Seeds germinate at any time of year. Flowering commences in early summer of the second growth season and continues until March or April. New canes are produced from the crown and lateral roots in early spring.
  • Spread is by seed and root suckering. Established thickets increase in size by suckering and seedling growth on the edges of thickets. Long distance spread of seeds results when birds eat the fruits and void the seed away from the parent plant. Lantana is also spread as part of the ornamental plant trade.
Lantana close up of flowers, photo: New South Wales Agriculture
Image top: Lantana flowering plant, photo: New South Wales Agriculture
Image above: Close up of lantana flowers, photo: New South Wales Agriculture

Impacts of lantana

  • Lantana is a serious environmental weed, and can invade native vegetation, shade out native species and increase fire risk. Lantana is also a serious weed of pasture, certain crops and forestry plantations. Lantana is toxic to stock.

Where does lantana occur?

  • Lantana is a native to tropical and sub-tropical Central and South America. Lantana has naturalised widely on mainland Australia.
  • Lantana has not naturalised in Tasmania. Most of Tasmania is thought to be unsuitable for establishment of lantana. However, climate modelling indicates there is some risk of establishment of lantana on Flinders Island and on the north-east coast of Tasmania.

What do you need to do

  • If you locate lantana anywhere in Tasmania, or if you find a plant that you think could be lantana, immediately contact your Regional Weed Management Officer on 1300 368 550 to report this weed.
See also
Statutory Weed Management Plan for Lantana
Weed Links and Resources

Other useful links
Pest Genie
APVMA
Weeds in Australia - Weed Management Guide

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