|Botanical Name||Lantana camara var. aculeata|
DescriptionAromatic shrub 2-3 m high, usually with recurved prickles. Leaves rough and oval to 70 mm. Variety aculeata has yellow flowers in the middle surrounded by pink flowers. Flowers Jan-Dec. Inflorescence a flat head of 10 mm long, tube-like flowers, bicoloured - initially cream or pale yellow changing to pink to rose and darker. Stone fruit black or blue-black.
Where is it found?Mainly coastal and shrubland habitats. May occupy a similar range of habitats as pampas grasses - areas of high light intensity especially those with a warm micro-climate. Islands, cliffs, foreshores, consolidated sand dunes, forest and shrubland margins, dry low shrublands, disturbed sites, roadsides, quarries, exotic plantations, wasteland and domestic gardens. Other cultivars of different flower colours are popular garden plants though none of the other forms go wild, as their seed is sterile.
Why is it a problem?This plant is a major problem in Tonga, the Cook Islands and other Polynesian islands where it invades newly disturbed soils e.g. garden plantations. Perceived to have a large impact on lowland areas rapidly invading sites which are typically sparsely vegetated e.g. bluffs and coastal areas. Abundance relatively low at present, but lantana is thought to be on the increase as a wild plant. A serious threat to island habitats. Not seen to be a threat further south because of the cool climate. Watch out for this plant.
How does it spread?Mostly originally garden escapes. No set dispersal routes. Bulking-up at present in road verges and coastal wastelands. Bird dispersed, notably by silvereyes.
How do I get rid of it?
Hand pull where possible or rotary slash/cut and treat base with herbicide.
Compost, mulch or bury.
Spray with Metsulfuron mixed at 5 grams in 10 litres of water.
|Recommended Approach||Keep at a safe distance from high value coastal and shrubland areas. Currently with a small occurrence of the plant the best option may be to target the species for eradication|
Advocacy required with landowners encouraging those near vulnerable sites not to cultivate this plant.