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Book cover - Common Weeds of New ZealandAn Illustrated Guide to
Common Weeds
of New Zealand


Lantana camara


Reproduced from
Common Weeds of New Zealand
by Ian Popay, Paul Champion & Trevor James
ISBN 0 473 09760 5
by kind permission of the
New Zealand Plant Protection Society

Publication or other use of images or descriptive text on these pages is unauthorised unless written permission is obtained from the authors and publisher.
Appropriate acknowledgement of the publication Common Weeds of New Zealand must always be given.

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Lantana camara - lantana

Branched, pleasant-smelling, hairy, somewhat prickly perennial shrub up to 3 m tall in warm places in North Auckland. Small, tubular flowers in tight bunches, of variable colour, usually changing from cream or yellow to pink, purplish-pink or rose.

  • Flowers Rose and yellow, up to 1 cm in diameter, fragrant. Corolla tubular, with four backward-curved lobes, in dense inflorescences on slender stalks up to 10 cm long in the leaf axils. Flowers Jan-Dec.
  • Fruit Poisonous, juicy round drupes (berries) about 5 mm in diameter. Drupes initially green, ripening to deep purple or black.
  • Leaves In opposite pairs, crinkled, with rough hairs on the upper surface, soft hairy underneath. Leaves bluntly-toothed, egg-shaped or heart-shaped, up to 13 cm long by 7 cm wide, on stalks up to 2 cm long.
  • Stems Square, with a pithy core. Erect to spreading or scrambling, usually with curved-back prickles.


Road-sides and waste places in warm districts.


NI only, locally abundant on the north-west shore of Hokianga Harbour, occasional elsewhere in North Auckland, Auckland (Rangitoto Island) and Bay of Plenty (as far east as Opotiki district). Originally from tropical America.


In many parts of the tropics, this species is a dangerous weed, being poisonous to livestock, although it has never been a problem in NZ. Lantana camara var. aculeata, the most common variety of lantana found growing wild in NZ, with cream and pink flowers, is listed on the National Pest Plant Accord (see Introduction for details). Other forms and species of Lantana are common garden plants.

Derivation of botanical name

Lantana (Lat.) = viburnum, named for its similar foliage; camara South American name.


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Web-notes: Weed Links

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External Links

WeedbustersWeedbusters New Zealand
Weedbusters is a weeds awareness and education programme that aims to protect New Zealand's environment from the increasing weed problem.
A free tool to assist farmers and agricultural professionals in decision-making regarding weed and pest identification, biology, impact and management.
Weed keyNew Zealand Weeds Key
An interactive identification key to the weeds of New Zealand. Developed at Landcare Research.

New Zealand Plant Conservation Network naturalised plants
Search for information on more than 2500 naturalised and weedy plants.
NZ Plant Protection SocietyNew Zealand Plant Protection Society
Their main objective: "To pool and exchange information on the biology of weeds, invertebrate and vertebrate pests, pathogens and beneficial organisms and methods for modifying their effects."
Massey UniversityMassey University Weeds Database
A site providing information about New Zealand weeds and weed control. It has a series of pages showing pictures of New Zealand weeds, notes on identification and control. It also provides information on a university paper entitled Controlling Weeds.

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Last updated: March 1, 2021