Lantana camara

Also known as: Lantana
Family: Verbenaceae Photo © John Brock

Lantana originated from Latin America, and was first introduced in Australia in the early 1840's. Lantana was a very popular plant in European hothouses in the 19th century, where 400 different varieties were developed. Lantana camara is a hybrid of these species. Lantana was widely grown here in Australia as an ornamental shrub, and also grown as hedges to confine livestock. The red-flowered variety is poisonous to livestock and kills 2000 cattle annually here in Australia.

Lantana is a very common environmental weed in our valleys here. It is thriving in many areas of disturbed forest and degraded farmland, and often encircles areas of remnant rainforest.

Paradoxically, in some situations, lantana can be fauna friendly habitat. Many fauna make significant use of lantana. pdf

Identification
Lantana grows as a multiple-branched shrub up to 4 metres in height, and also throws "trailers" up to 15 metres long which it also takes root from. It is a climbing shrub which forms dense thickets, and can often smother native trees. The leaves have a strong, noticeable odour, are serrated, and rough to touch. Lantana flowers for most of the year, and the flower colour can vary between pink, yellow, white, red and orange. The fruit/seed is black in colour, succulent, and is also produced for most of the year.

Reproduction
Lantana germinates readily from seed, and also multiplies outward from a single mother plant via it's "trailers" or "runners", which also set roots.

Eradication

Organic

Lantana can be successfully eradicated organically, without the need for chemical spraying. A few good, healthy and willing workers armed with brush-hooks can do wonders, although it is important to follow up the work a few months later, as enough time will have passed for the slashed plant material to dry out, and any runners which are still rooted into the ground will be easily spotted. These are usually quite easy to rip out by hand, as the root system is quite weak and shallow-rooted.

Lantana can be removed using 3 or more planks as levers to roll it down a slope, pulling the roots out as it goes.

Chemical

Cut, scrape and paint (Glyphosate 1:1.5)

Shrubs: Spray or cut down and spray regrowth (Glyphosate 200ml/10L + LI 700 50ml/10L)

 

Biocontrol

Prospodium tuberculatum, a rust, is the first pathogen to be released as a biocontrol agent on lantana in Australia.
Origin
P. tuberculatum occurs naturally in Brazil.
• Laboratory cultures of P. tuberculatum originate from Brazil.
• The rust was first released in Australia in 2001.
Biology
• The rust attacks the leaves, producing little pustules on the undersides.
• The rust performs best at temperatures of 20oC, with the leaves wet for 9–15 hours.
P. tuberculatum completes its life cycle in three weeks in Summer.
• Severe infections cause leaf necrosis, leading to premature defoliation.
Australian Distribution and Impact on Lantana
P. tuberculatum has been released at numerous sites throughout Queensland and New South Wales.
• Establishment has occurred in wetter mountain regions of southern Queensland and northern
New South Wales.
• Establishment at other sites in both states has been affected by drought from 2001–2003.
• The rust prefers moist sites where there is dew or light rain, and temperatures are mild.
• Damage will be greatest in the summer months when rainfall is generally higher.
• Populations of the rust are self-sustaining, as it produces spores that can survive dry winters.
• The rust can reproduce relatively quickly and is dispersed by wind.
P. tuberculatum affects only the common pink-flowering lantana variety.

Trial Project
In 2003 our Landcare group became involved in this trial project with the Queensland Government, Department of Natural Resources and Mines after inviting members of the community to become involved by nominating a site which could be included in this project.   We were fortunate that we were able to offer eight (8) sites.  All the sites were assessed by the researchers and found to be suitable;  the next step was to apply the spores to the lantana. more....


Full details of biocontrol for lantana can be checked on the website:
www.nrm.qld.gov.au/pests/wons/lantana/index.html

The affected leaf of lantana when the biocontrol is used on pink