Lantana camara: Taxonomic Position, Distribution, Characteristics, Impact on Cattle and Toxic Components

Taxonomic Position

Scientific Classification: Lantana camara

Common Names: Sleeper weed, Lantana, Wild sage

Kingdom: Plantae

Order: Lamiales

Family: Verbenacea

 Genus: Lantana

Species: Camara


Veterinaryists are concerned about toxic plants because of their negative consequences on cattle, such as mortality and reduced output. The severity of poisonous plant effects varies by species and is dependent on the nature, amount, and type of toxic component consumed, as well as ambient factors, species, age, size, and condition of the animals. These invasive species are seen to be one of the biggest threats to biodiversity and ecology after habitat destruction, in addition to their toxic effects on livestock. These invading plants have evolved into predators, and they are responsible for diseases in both animals and plants.

Lantana Camara is a poisonous plant that is one of the most well-known noxious and invasive weeds in the world. This plant is responsible for high animal mortality as well as the destruction of agricultural and woodland ecosystems. Lantana comes from the Latin word lento, which means “to bend.” Locals name this weed bunchberry, baraphulnoo, red, or wild sage. This plant’s inflorescence changes with age and season, making it difficult to recognise taxonomically.

Lantana camara Plant


The Asia-Pacific region, Australia, New Zealand, Central and South America, the West Indies, and Africa are all home to this species. The plant’s range is still expanding. Lantana is native to Africa and America, and it has spread to many of the bordering nations. However, in Africa, this species has replaced the invertebrate population as well as other local populations. Lantana Camara is one of the world’s top 100 weeds, having spread to more than 60 nations. This weed has been identified as a major invasive in 12 nations and is one of Australia’s top five noxious weeds, covering 60% of pastures in Queensland.


1. Lantana camara is a tropical and subtropical shrub with multicoloured flower clusters that is native to the Americas’ tropical and subtropical zones.

2.  It can grow in a wide range of environmental conditions, and in warm climates, blossoms can bloom all year.

3. Flower heads typically comprise 20 to 40 flowers that are 2.5 cm in diameter and range in colour from white, cream, or yellow to orange-pink, purple, and red.

4. Flowering takes place between August and March, or all year if there is enough moisture and sunshine. Lepidopteran species and thrips are among the pollinators.

5. The fruit is greenish blue-black, 5 – 7 mm in diameter, drupaceous, and shiny, with two nutlets;

6.  Seeding occurs from September to May, with 1 – 20 seeds per flower head. Annually, mature plants can generate up to 12,000 seeds.

Seed dispersal

Fruit dispersal is through frugivorous birds, foxes and rodents. The germination rate of fresh seed is generally low, but the germinability gets improved when the seed passes through the digestive system of birds and animals.

Lantana camara seeds


Lantana generally grows best in open, un-shaded conditions such as wastelands, the edges of rain forests, on beachfront, in agricultural areas, grasslands, riparian zones, scrub/shrublands, urban areas, wetlands and forests recovering from fire or logging. Roadsides, railway tracks and canal banks are favoured by the species. Lantana does not invade intact rain forests but is found on their margins.

Infestation mode:

Lantana forms dense thickets that might suffocate native species. Individual clumps or large thickets of the plant might choke out more desirable species. It has the potential to become the dominant understorey plant in disturbed native forests, altering succession and reducing biodiversity. Species richness declines when the density of Lantana in natural forest regions grows.

Threat and Damage

1. Lantana poses a threat to natural environments, as well as native flora and wildlife. The weed has put nineteen endangered and threatened species in Australia in jeopardy.

2. It infects pastures, grazing fields, orchards, and crops such as tea, coffee, oil palm, coconut, and cotton, lowering their economic viability.

3. Lantana’s allelopathic properties impair the vigour and productivity of native plant species.

4. Lantana competition has led to the extinction of the shrub Linum cratericola (Linaceae) in the Galapagos Archipelago, and it is also a severe threat to other vulnerable plants.

5. Lantana has a variety of effects on agriculture. Lantana interferes with harvesting in plantations in Southeast Asia and the Pacific Islands, in addition to lowering crop output.

6. The greatest single expense of the Lantana invasion in grazing areas in Queensland, Australia, is the loss of pasture.

7. Lantana has also been identified as a potential hazard to over 60 conservation-sensitive plant and animal species in Queensland, Australia.

8. The capacity of the soil to absorb rain is lower in dense Lantana trees than in grassy areas. This could increase the quantity of run-off and, as a result, the risk of soil erosion in weed-infested areas. Because its leaves and seeds contain the toxic triterpenoids Lantadene A and Lantadene B,

9. Lantana has been linked to the poisoning of a variety of animals, including cattle, buffalo, sheep, and goats. Pink nose illness, jaundice, and muzzle in calves can all be caused by ingesting plant pieces. During droughts, there are large epidemics of Lantana poisoning.

10. The plant has a variety of secondary effects, particularly in tropical areas where it can harbour a variety of dangerous pests.


1. Lantana is mostly utilised as a herbal remedy, although it is also used as firewood and mulch in some locations.

 2. It’s used as a livestock containment or exclusion hedge in several nations.

3. Antimicrobial, fungicidal, insecticidal, and nematicidal activities have been discovered in Lantana leaf extracts.

4. Lantana has been shown to contain verbascoside, which has antibacterial, immunosuppressive, and anticancer properties.

5. Lantana oil is used to cure itchiness on the skin, as an antiseptic for wounds, and to treat leprosy and scabies externally.

6. Cancer, chickenpox, measles, asthma, ulcers, swellings, eczema, tumours, high blood pressure, bilious fevers, catarrhal infections, tetanus, rheumatism, and malaria are among the conditions for which plant extracts are utilised in folk medicine.

7. Lantana stems can be used to make writing and printing paper if they are treated with a sulphate process.

8. It may also be used to make baskets and temporary shelters, as well as fuel for cooking and heating.

9. Lantana may provide shelter and crucial winter food for many native birds in particular places. When their natural habitat is unavailable, several endangered bird species make use of Lantana thickets.


Mechanical control

 Stickraking, bulldozing, ploughing, and grubbing (medium-sized plants) are the most common mechanical control methods. Brush cutters are utilised, as well as hand pulling, chain pulling, and flame weeding. If the rootstock is not removed when weeding, regrowth will be imminent. Elephants were used to eradicate Lantana plants in India. Mechanical control, on the other hand, is only suitable for small areas and is not suggested in erosion-prone areas. To boost the efficiency of mechanical or herbicidal management, or as a follow-up to such approaches, fire is frequently utilised. When utilised under the correct conditions, fire can give some control, especially if the fires are hot and the Lantana is aggressively developing. However, when it comes to using fire as a management tool, It is necessary to minimise the risk to people and property. For a variety of reasons, it is not advisable to burn in natural forest regions or vine thickets. A significant component of a Lantana management programme is the re-vegetation of a treated site through tree planting or promoting naturally occurring seedlings. Sowing a pasture that outcompetes and suffocates the Lantana is another option for revegetation. Grazing should be avoided for the first six to one year to help the pasture flourish.

Chemical control

During the active growth phase, Fluroxypyr (300 g/l Triclopyr + 100 g/l Picloram) @ 350 ml/100 l water per ha, Glyphosate @ 1l / 100 l water, Triclopyr @ 1l / 60 l water, and Grazon DS (300 g/l Triclopyr + 100 g/l Picloram) @ 1l / 60 l water are advised. Glyphosate (2 kg ha) applied post-emergence may provide effective control. Applications should be made while the soil is moist and when the plant is actively growing, either early in the morning or late in the afternoon.

Biological control

 None of the more than 40 biocontrol agents that have been launched in 32 countries has been effective in suppressing the weed. The sapsucking bug, Teleonemia scrupulosa (Hemiptera), leaf-mining beetles, Octotoma scabripennis (Coleoptera) and Uroplata Girardi (Coleoptera), and the seedfeeding fly, Ophiomyia lantanae (Coleoptera), are among the species that have become established and have had a significant impact on the weed (Diptera). A sap-sucking beetle called Leptobyrsa decora, a mealybug called Phenacoccus parvus, and a rust fungus called Prospodium tuberculatum are also employed in Australia for Lantana biocontrol. Because Lantana sheds its leaves to tolerate prolonged periods of dryness, many of the leaf-feeding insects are unable to maintain large enough populations to cause major damage. Manual weeding of Lantanas is caused by Puccinia lantanae, tropical rust. Lantana is controlled by fire. Lantana control via chemical means. P. tuberculatum is pathogenic to a broader range of Lantana weedy varieties. To date, 10 biotypes have been successfully inoculated with this fungus: two from Australia, three from South Africa, two from Madagascar, and one each from Thailand, India, and Hawaii in inoculation trials. Additional research is being done. Winter leaf loss in Lantana and the insect’s inability to persist hampered the release of a Lantana leaf-feeding mirid, Falconia intermedia, in South Africa and Australia. Several more prospective medicines are now being studied for host specificity and possible impact.

Biological control has failed to eradicate Lantana infestations wherever it has been attempted, owing to the plants’ tremendous diversity, the wide climatic range it invades, and the high level of parasitism on natural enemies. Mechanical and cultural solutions, on the other hand, are both costly and frequently ineffectual. Chemical techniques may be helpful in the short term, but they are harmful to the environment and cannot be utilised indefinitely. To control Lantana infestation in our ecosystems, biological, mechanical, chemical, and cultural strategies will have to be applied in concert.

The most cost-effective control method is to prevent the spread of Lantana. This would necessitate a ban on new Lantana imports, a ban on the sale and usage of Lantana in gardens, and the strategic eradication of infestations where they now exist.

Question: What is the Impact of Lantana Camara Plant on Animals?

Most animals are poisoned by Lantana’s leaves. Cattle, buffalo, sheep, and goats have all died as a result of lantana poisoning. Cattle do not enjoy the plant, however, it is said to be browsed when there is a lack of pasture. Cattle fed leaves (12-16 oz.) exhibit severe jaundice, exfoliation of the skin near the muzzle, copious salivation, severe dermatitis, and a dull appearance. Triterpenoids, which cause poisoning and photosensitivity, are said to be present in the leaves and seeds of this plant. When grazing animals such as sheep, goats, bovines, and horses consume L.camara, they experience hepatotoxicity and photosensitivity. Because of the presence of poisonous substance lantadenes in its leaves, which is not diminished even after many weeks of anaerobic microbial reaction during silage preparation, Lantana leaves have the lowest palatability as fodder. The ripe blue/black berries of Lantana are consumed in tropical areas, while the green fruit causes human death.

Lantana camara Leaves

Question: What are the Different Components of Lantana Camara that are Toxic?  

1. Lantadenes are the most poisonous components present in this herb. Hepatotoxicity, photosensitization, and jaundice have all been linked to lantadenes, which are pentacyclic triterpenes.

 2. Lantana toxins can be found in two different forms: crystalline and amorphous. Guinea pigs have been discovered to be icterogenic to the amorphous form.

3. The lantadenes found in this plant’s leaves have various harmful effects on different species and strains of mammals and cattle.

4. Buffalo and sheep are the most sensitive ruminants, but goats are quite resistant to lantadene poisoning.

5. Male rats are generally resistant to lantana poisoning due to the action of testosterone, whereas guinea pigs show the most common indications of lantana toxicity.

6. Lantana’s toxicity has also been observed in kangaroos and ostriches.

7. The lack of green fodder is one of the most common causes of lantana toxicity in animals, especially in those who are frequently sent to pastures without any preceding feed.

Question: What are the different varieties of Lantana Camara?

ANS: Pink L. Camara, White L. Camara, Red L. Camara, Pink edged red L. Camara, and Orange L. Camara is the most common Lantana types based on bloom colour. L. indica, L. crenulata, L. trifolia, L. lilacina, L. involuerata, and L. Sellowiance are all important lantana species, but the red blossom variant (L. Camara var. aculeate) is the most toxic. In New Zealand, a pink form of Lantana Camara known as Taxon is commonly grazed by animals and is harmless.

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