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Lantana camara - L.

Common Name Wild Sage, Lantana Verbena
Family Verbenaceae
USDA hardiness 8-12
Known Hazards The leaves and seeds are toxic[310 ]. The unripe, green berries cause vomiting, diarrhoea, dilated pupils and laboured respiration if ingested[293 ]. The leaves may cause dermatitis[293 ]. (All parts of plant are poisonous if ingested )
Habitats Mainly a weed of plantation crops and pastures, it is found in relatively open and disturbed, not too moist habitats from sea-level to elevations of 1,700 metres[310 ].
Range Northern S. America - Venezuela and Colombia, through Central America to Mexico and the Caribbean.
Edibility Rating    (2 of 5)
Other Uses    (3 of 5)
Weed Potential Yes
Medicinal Rating    (4 of 5)
Care (info)
Half Hardy Well drained soil Moist Soil Wet Soil Semi-shade Full sun
Lantana camara Wild Sage, Lantana Verbena

Lantana camara Wild Sage, Lantana Verbena


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A species of flowering plant native to American tropics, Lantana camara or otherwise known in various common names such as wild sage, red sage, big sage, white sage, tick berry, Lantana verbena, and shrub sage is an invasive, small, perennial shrub growing around 2m tall forming dense thickets. The flowers of L. camara are small and tubular, and arranged in clusters in terminal areas stems. Colors vary from yellow, red, white, pink, and orange. The leaves are broadly ovate, opposite, and simple, and exhibit strong odor the crushed. The leaves and seeds are toxic. Leaves are used to make tea. The berry-like drupe, dark purple or black fruits are eaten when fully ripe. Medicinally, the plant has antimicrobial, fungicidal, insecticidal, and nematocidal properties. Essential oil obtained from the plant is used for the treatment of skin itches, wounds, leprosy, and scabies. The root is used for influenza, cough, mumps, fever, malaria, toothache, headache, etc. The flowers are used for hemoptysis and pulmonary tuberculosis. Conditions like constipation, high blood pressure, dermatitis, eczema, measles, urethral inflammation, colds, and bronchitis among others can also be treated using plant parts of L. camara. Due to its extensive root system, the plant is also planted for soil erosion control and sometimes grown as a hedge.

Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of shrub
Lantana camara is an evergreen Shrub growing to 1.8 m (6ft) by 1.8 m (6ft) at a fast rate.
See above for USDA hardiness. It is hardy to UK zone 9. The flowers are pollinated by Butterflies, Insects.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils, prefers well-drained soil and can grow in nutritionally poor soil. Suitable pH: mildly acid, neutral and basic (mildly alkaline) soils and can grow in very acid soils.
It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers dry moist or wet soil.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


Camara vulgaris Benth. Lantana aculeata L. Lantana annua C.B.Clarke Lantana antillana Raf. Lantana a

Plant Habitats

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Fruit  Leaves
Edible Uses: Tea

The aromatic leaves are used to make a tea[407 ]. The ripe black fruits are eaten in handfuls, especially by children as a snack[398 ]. The sweet tasting drupaceous, fleshy, ovoid fruits are purple or black when fully ripe and about 5 mm long[360 ]. Some reports mention the toxicity of the unripe fruits[K ].

References   More on Edible Uses

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.
Antiasthmatic  Antibacterial  Antidermatosic  Antifungal  Antiinflammatory  Antiphlogistic  Antipyretic  Antirheumatic  
Antiseptic  Antitumor  Aromatic  Diaphoretic  Eczema  Febrifuge  Haemostatic  
Laxative  Leprosy  Malaria  Odontalgic  Pectoral  Poultice  Refrigerant  
Skin  Stimulant  Tonic  Vulnerary

The plant is often used in domestic medicine and research carried out mainly in India has shown it to contain a number of compounds with medicinal activity. The leaves contain 0.2% of an essential oil[360 ]. Extracts have shown antimicrobial, fungicidal, insecticidal and nematicidal activity[413 ]. The dried flowers contain 0.07% essential oil comprised mainly of caryophyllene-like bicyclic terpene (80%) and l,a-phellandrene (10-12%)[360 ]. The bark contains lantanine, 0.08%[360 ]. Verbascoside, which possesses antimicrobial, immunosuppressive and antitumor activities, has been isolated from the plant[413 ]. Lantanoside, linaroside and camarinic acid have been isolated and are being investigated as potential nematocides[413 ]. Lantana essential oil is sometimes used for the treatment of skin itches, as an antiseptic for wounds, and externally for leprosy and scabies[413 ]. It is applied as a poultice on rheumatic joints[360 ]. The root is sweet and bitter tasting, refrigerant, antifebrile[360 ]. A decoction is used to treat influenza, cough, mumps, incessant high fever, malaria, cervical lymph node tuberculosis, asthma, toothache, headache, inflammation, gonorrhoea and leucorrhoea[310 , 360 ]. The flowers are sweet tasting, mildly cooling and haemostatic[360 ]. A decoction of the dried flowers is used in the treatment of haemoptysis and pulmonary tuberculosis[360 ]. The leaves are aromatic with a minty taste, they have a cooling nature, are antiphlogistic, anti-dermatosic, diaphoretic, febrifuge, pectoral, stimulant, tonic and vulnerary[46 , 310 , 348 , 360 ]. An infusion of the leaves and flowering tops is used in the treatment of fevers, constipation, tuberculosis, catarrh and bronchitis[310 , 348 , 360 ]. Combined with the leaves of Cymbopogon citratus, they are used as an infusion to treat colds, high blood pressure and malarial fever[348 ]. Externally, the leaves and stems are used as a wash to treat dermatitis, eczema, pruritus, measles and chickenpox rashes etc[348 , 360 ]. They are applied as a poultice to treat sprains, wounds and contusions[360 ]. As a douche, they are used to treat inflammations of the uterus[348 ]. A decoction of the bark is used as a treatment for fevers[360 ].

References   More on Medicinal Uses

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Other Uses

Biomass  Essential  Fencing  Fodder  Fuel  Fungicide  Hedge  Herbicide  Houseplant  Insecticide  Insecticide  Mulch  Paper  Soil stabilization  Teeth

Agroforestry Uses: The plant has an extensive root system and is often planted for erosion control[317 ]. The plant responds well to trimming and is often grown as a hedge[317 , 360 , 413 ]. In parts of East Africa, in locations where it is not weedy, it has effectively been used as a live fence [1-8]. In some mountainous areas (e.g. in Tanzania and India) the presence of L. camara was once considered a good ground cover preventing erosion [1-8]. The plant provides an abundance of organic matter which can be used as mulch material[413 ]. Other Uses: The use of lantana extracts as potential biocides has been suggested. For example, aqueous leachate at 1 - 3% can kill water hyacinth, a troublesome weed in many tropical countries[413 ]. Its application as a herbicide would depend on the size of the water bodies being treated and the cost of extraction of the leachate[413 ]. Leaf extracts have strong insecticidal and antimicrobial activity, for example, storing potatoes, Solanum tuberosum, with leaves of L. camara almost eliminates damage by the potato tuber moth Phthorimaea operculella [1-8]. The stems of lantana, if treated by the sulphate process, can be used to produce pulp for paper suitable for writing and printing[413 ]. However it is hard to harvest, so is likely to be uneconomical[413 ]. The roots of lantana contain a substance that may possibly be used for rubber manufacture, although the economic viability of production has not been examined[413 ]. The plant is utilized as firewood. The twigs and stems serve as useful fuel for cooking and heating in many developing countries, although it is less important than other fuel sources such as windrows, woodlots or natural bush[413 ]. Straw from L. camara mixed with dung for biogas production [1-8]. Fodder. Seeds as a source of food for lambs [1-8]. Ornamental. Pot plant.

Special Uses

Ground Cover  Hedge  Scented Plants

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

Grows in a wide variety of habitats in the tropical and subtropical zones[413 ]. Under temperate climes, it has been, and still is, widely used as a glasshouse ornamental and a pot plant. It has succeeded in areas where the annual rainfall is around 750mm, though is then usually found along creek lines[413 ]. It is also found in tropical areas receiving 3,000mm of rainfall per year, provided that the soils are sufficiently well drained[413 ]. The plant is tolerant of high temperatures, but seldom occurs where temperatures frequently fall below 5°c[413 ]. Some varieties can withstand minor frosts, provided these are infrequent; prolonged freezing temperatures kill aerial woody branches and cause defoliation[413 ]. Succeeds in a wide range of soils[413 ], preferably well-drained[352 ]. Succeeds in poor soils[352 ]. Grows well in dry areas but also present in wetter habitats[305 ]. Grows best in open, unshaded situations, but tolerates moderate shade[305 , 413 ]. Locally becoming an aggressive and pernicious weed[305 , 317 ]. This thorny shrub forms dense understorey vegetation that crowds out and inhibits establishment of other species[305 ]. Allelopathic substances are produced by shoots and roots which inhibit germination and growth of other plants[305 , 360 ]. The plant is apt to form dense thickets, spreads very quickly, with one plant producing as many as 12,000 seeds a year[360 ]. At some sites, infestations have been so persistent that they have completely stalled the regeneration of rainforest for three decades[413 ]. Plants respond well to cutting back, able to resprout even from severe and repeated cutting back[413 ]. The plants can tolerate all but the hottest forest fires, quickly resprouting from the base[305 ]. Stems and leaves emit an unpleasant aroma when crushed[372 ]. The scent is similar to blackcurrants[413 ]. Flowering Time: Early summer, Early fall, Early spring, Early winter, Late summer, Late fall, Late spring, Late winter, Mid summer, Mid fall, Mid spring, Mid winter (Blooms repeatedly). Bloom Color: Orange, Pink, Red, Salmon, White, Yellow (Pink Magenta (Pink-Purple) Red Orange Bright Yellow Purple ) (red, orange, yellow). Spacing: 36-48 in. (90-120 cm).

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

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Plant Propagation

Seed - Cuttings

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Wild Sage, Lantana Verbena, Shrub Sage, Yellow Sage, Abelwinyo, Aruppu, Dieng-sohpang-khlieh, Galphusia, Ghaneri, Imomwa-ajele, Jerenga, Jhurmuta, Kamkung, Latina, Magwagwa, Masino kanda, Maviamkuku, Mbarapati, Mjasasa, Mshomoro, Mushomoro, Pakakrong, Red sage bush, Tantani, Tek-tagwari, Ubuhobe besukhiwa, Uni, Wild sage, Yeregna genfo, aripple, bahama tea, bandera española, caburá caá, camará, camará de dos colores, cambara, cambará, chumbinho, cinco negritos, english sage bush, hierba de cristo, lantana, lantanier, largeleaf lantana, masino kanda, polung, qi jie mei, red sage bush, shrub verbena|gandapana / rata hinguru, siete negritos, sitaji phul, sudu gandapana, thangbua, utywala bentaka, west indian lantana, wild sage, wood sage, yellow sage, yerba de la cruz.

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Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Aruba; Bahamas; Cayman Islands; Cuba; Dominican Republic; Haiti; Jamaica; Honduras; Puerto Rico; Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of; Ecuador; Nicaragua; Guatemala; El Salvador; Costa Rica; Belize; Mexico; Guyana; Panama; Colombia; Virgin Islands, U.S.; Virgin Islands, British; Brazil, Africa, Asia, Australia, Bermuda, Burma, Central America*, China, Côte d'Ivoire, Cuba*, East Africa, East Timor, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Guiana, Guinea, Guinée, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Haiti, Hawaii, Kenya, India, Indochina, Indonesia, Ivory Coast, Jamaica, Kenya, Kiribati, Laos, Lesser Antilles*, Malaysia, Mediterranean, Mexico*, Mozambique, Myanmar, Nepal, Norfolk Island, North America, Northeastern India, Pacific, Papua New Guinea, PNG, Philippines, Puerto Rico, SE Asia, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Southern Africa, South America, Spain, Sri Lanka, Suriname, Swaziland, Tanzania, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Tonga, Uganda, USA, Venezuela, Vietnam, West Africa, West Indies*, Zambia, Zimbabwe,

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Introduced to most of the tropics and subtropics as a hedge plant and reported as extremely weedy and invasive in many countries. It is generally deleterious to biodiversity and has been reported as an agricultural weed resulting in large economic losses in a number of countries. In addition to this, it increases the risk of fire, is poisonous to livestock and is a host for numerous pests and diseases. L. camara is difficult to control. In Australia, India and South Africa aggressive measures to eradicate L. camara over the last two centuries have been largely unsuccessful, and the invasion trajectory has continued upwards despite control measures. This species has been the target of biological control programmes for over a century, with successful control only being reported in a few instances. [1-8]

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status : This taxon has not yet been assessed

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther
Viburnum lantanaWayfaring Tree, Wayfaring Tree ViburnumShrub5.0 4-7 MLMHSNDM101

Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.


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A special thanks to Ken Fern for some of the information used on this page.

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