Lantana

Lantana spp.

Family: Verbenaceae

Type of weed:

This is a Weed of the Month for

Flowering Months: , , , , , ,

Description

Lantana is a heavily branching shrub which grows in dense thickets or clumps 2–4 m high. The stems are square with short hooked prickles.

Leaves are mid-green, oval, deeply wrinkled and hairy and 20–100 mm long with toothed edges. They are opposite on the stem. Crushing leaves or stems produces a strong, characteristic smell.

Lantana flowers grow in clusters of approximately 20–40 individual flowers which vary in colour. There are five colour types which are, pink, white, pink-edged red, red and orange. The plant flowers most of the year, particularly between October and April.

Fruit consists of clusters of fleshy purplish-black berries.

Don’t confuse with…

Lantana can be confused with Native Peach (Trema aspera). Trema has tiny insignificant flowers and alternate leaves which have no odour when crushed.

Lantana has opposite leaves and a pungent odour when crushed.

Dispersal

Fruit-eating birds are the main source of dispersal, spreading seed in their droppings but mammals are also known to eat and disperse seed. Lantana can also spread by layering (where stems take root when they are in contact with moist soil).

Impact on bushland

Lantana aggressively invades rich soils in open forest, disturbed rainforest and creeklines, competes vigorously with native species, forms impenetrable thickets, creates dense shade and heavy leaf litter.

It reduces biodiversity and can completely transform bushland into a weedy forest.

Distribution

. Lapstone to Faulconbridge.

Alternative planting

Native plants

  • Spike Wattle (Acacia oxycedrus)
  • Needlebush (Hakea sericea)
  • Blackthorn (Bursaria spinosa)
  • Mountain Devil (Lambertia formosa)
  • Indigofera australis

Council provides a tool, on its Mountain Landscapes website, to help you choose native alternative plantings. Choose your village, soil, vegetation community and the purpose of your planting, and the tool will give you suggestions.

There are native nurseries in several Blue Mountains villages, including Glenbrook, Lawson and Katoomba. Please also ask at your favourite local nursery.

Control

  • Hand pull seedlings and small plants, after loosening the soil with a trowel.
  • Cut and paint larger plants. Cut stems can be spread out to dry off the ground. Once dead, the material will decompose, or can be composted.
  • Spray large dense patches of lantana where there are no native plants, with glyphosate.

For more info

For key points on these techniques: