Lantana camara L.

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Lantana camara

Photo: Bart Wursten
Leopard Rock Game Reserve

Lantana camara

Photo: Bart Wursten
Twentydales Extension, Harare

Lantana camara

Photo: Bart Wursten
Leopard Rock Game Reserve, Vumba

Lantana camara

Photo: Bart Wursten
Edge of camp site, Chirinda Forest

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Species details: Click on each item to see an explanation of that item (Note: opens a new window)

Common names: Cherry pie (English) Lantana (English) Mbarapati (Shona) Ubuhobe besikhiwa (Ndebele)
Frequency: Abundant
Status: Introduced
Aromatic shrub. Stems usually with numerous recurved prickles but these sometimes very sparse or even 0. Leaves opposite. Flowers in heads, 2-3 cm in diameter. Bracts of the inflorescence linear to linear-lanceolate, up to 2 mm wide. Corolla colours very varied. Fruit a fleshy purple or black drupe.
Notes: This species often forms impenetrable thickets to the exclusion of most other vegetation and become an aggressive invader of disturbed and overgrazed areas, which is difficult to eradicate. In the Flora of Tropical East Africa, Verdcourt separates L. camara from all the other species by possessing a stem with recurved prickles although he does note that the prickles may be sparse or even absent. In the FTEA description, Verdcourt notes that the flower colour may be "red, purple, pink, with yellow centre, salmon, orange, pure yellow, white etc. sometimes the inner flowers a different colour from the outer". We certainly see a great variety of colours around Harare and all these plants, provided they have prickly stems, are therefore cultivars of L. camara.
Derivation of specific name:
Habitat: In woodland, disturbed ground and in formerly cultivated areas, sometimes forming dense thickets. Spread by birds eating the black fleshy fruit.
Altitude range: (metres) Up to 2000 m
Flowering time:All year
Worldwide distribution: Probably native of the West Indies, but well naturalised throughout the tropics and subtropics.
Zimbabwe distribution: N,W,C,E,S
Growth form(s): Shrub over 2 m, shrub under 2 m.
Endemic status:
Red data list status:
Insects associated with this species: Acherontia atropos (Food plant)
Oedicentra albipennis (Larval foodplant)
Spot characters: Display spot characters for this species
Images last updated: Thursday 12 April 2007

Bandeira, S., Bolnick, D. & Barbosa, F. (2007). Wild Flowers of Southern Mozambique Universidade Eduardo Mondlane, Maputo, Mozambique Page 174. (Includes a picture).

Baumann, G. (2005). Photographic Guide to Wildflowers of Malawi Wildlife and Environmental Society of Malawi Pages 142 - 143. (Includes a picture).

Drummond, R.B. (1975). A list of trees, shrubs and woody climbers indigenous or naturalised in Rhodesia. Kirkia 10(1) Page 271.

Fernandes, R. (2005). Verbenaceae Flora Zambesiaca 8(7) Pages 17 - 19.

Pickering, H. & Roe, E. (2009). Wild Flowers of the Victoria Falls Area Helen Pickering, London Page 114. (Includes a picture).

Setshogo, M.P. (2005). Preliminary checklist of the plants of Botswana. Sabonet Report no. 37. Sabonet, Pretoria and Gaborone Page 110.

Shone, D.K. & Drummond, R.B. (1965). Poisonous Plants of Rhodesia Ministry of Agriculture, Rhodesia Pages 56 - 58. (Includes a picture).

Wild, H. (undated, c. 1955). Common Rhodesian Weeds ?Government of Rhodesia, Salisbury Page 101. (Includes a picture).


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Other sources of information about Lantana camara:

Our websites:

Flora of Botswana: Lantana camara
Flora of Malawi: Lantana camara
Flora of Mozambique: Lantana camara
Flora of Zambia: Lantana camara
Flora of Zimbabwe: cultivated Lantana camara

External websites:

African Plant Database: Lantana camara
Biodiversity Explorer (Biodiversity of southern Africa): Lantana camara
EOL (Encyclopedia of Life): Lantana camara
ePIC (electronic Plant Information Center): Lantana camara
Flora Zambesiaca web site: Lantana camara
Google: Web - Images - Scholar
GRIN (Germplasm Resources Information Network) taxonomy for plants report for Lantana camara
IPNI (International Plant Names Index): Lantana camara
Ispot Southern Africa : Lantana camara
JSTOR Plant Science: Lantana camara
Kew Herbarium catalogue: Lantana camara
Tropicos: Lantana camara
West African Plants database: Lantana camara

Copyright: Mark Hyde, Bart Wursten, Petra Ballings and Meg Coates Palgrave, 2002-16

Hyde, M.A., Wursten, B.T., Ballings, P. & Coates Palgrave, M. (2016). Flora of Zimbabwe: Species information: Lantana camara., retrieved 25 October 2016

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