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2 September 2010

Lantana

Lantana is a very attractive highly colourful perennial flowering plant in the Verbena family, Verbenaceae.  It is native to Central America.  It grows very well in the hot Mediterranean climate.  It does not tolerate cold weather very well and is probably too tender to survive throughout the cold winter months outside in the garden in Northern Europe. This plant is said to be drought resistant and salt tolerant and is a common sight here in Tunis.  It is possible to see Lantana growing not only in private gardens but also in public parks as it is used in urban municipal horticulture. 

  The University of Arizona College of Pharmacy has a detailed list of poisonous plants and under the heading of lantana it says the following, "Lantana (Lantana sp.)  Description:  Cultivated shrub that grows up to 6 feet tall. May die back in colder areas. Leaves are oval shaped with toothed edges. Individual flowers are small and tube-shaped. They are clustered together to resemble a single bloom one inch in diameter. Flowers are white, yellow, orange, red, blue or a mix of several colors. Fruit is berry-like with a hard seed, turning
blue-black when ripe.  Poisonous Parts:  All parts, but especially the green berries."

More detailed information about the Lantana plant can be found on the following website: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lantana


Figure 1: Lantana camara


Figure 2: Lantana (species unknown)


Figure 3: Lantana (species unknown)

Lantana is widely regarded to be a pernicious invasive plant by some experts.  It is invasive in the sense that it invades, i.e. spreads rapidly, increasing greatly in numbers and in doing so it ousts native vegetation and detrimentally effects ecosystems.
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