adaptive-background

Lantana

Preferred Scientific Name: Lantana camara

Lantana invades natural pasture, croplands and protected areas.

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Why is it a problem?

The shrub displaces valuable forage species and medicinal plants and prevents the regeneration of native plant species. It can also be a secondary host for some plant pests and is attractive to tsetse flies. Lantana is poisonous to people and livestock.

Impacts

  • Poisonous to livestock
  • Increases likelihood of pests such as rats
  • Increased risk of fire
  • Reduces native biodiversity
  • Negatively impacts livelihoods

What’s the solution?

Manual control

Burning can control the spread of the weed if done regularly over the period of a decade. Mechanical and chemical control methods have proven to be fairly effective, but are expensive and only provide a short term solution. 

Biological control

Many attempts of biological control of Lantana have been made. Over 39 different natural enemies have been released. Unfortunately, the majority of them have either failed, or become established without controlling the weed. Studies have suggested that different agents perform better in some ecosystems than others, so the biocontrol agents used against Lantana vary between regions. 

Fact file

Name Lantana

Distribution

South and East Africa, Southern Europe, Middle East, tropical Asia, Australia, New Zealand and USA

For more information on distribution, view the full datasheet available here

Habitat

Disturbed areas and pastures with dry soil

Natural enemies

Lantana is virtually immune to grazing by livestock. Although, there are a several hundred insects that can feed on it including Aconophora compressa, a stem-sucking bug, native to the Americas (from Mexico to Columbia) that causes considerable dieback

Invasiveness

Spreads quickly, tolerant of control mechanisms and highly adaptive

Likelihood of entry

Most likely to be introduced intentionally, by horticulturalists

Climate

Tropical

Plant type

Shrub

Further reading

Visit our online resource of research and full text articles and journals
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