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Scientific Name: Lantana camara Common Name(s)


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Scientific Name: Lantana camara

Common Name(s): Lantana, Shrub verbena


Family:

Verbenaceae

Height:

Six feet or more

Leaves:

Opposite, simple, with oval blades that are rough and hairy, up to six inches long and two to three inches wide. Bases of blades are truncate. Leaves are very aromatic.

Flowers:

Small multicolored flowers occur in dense, flat-topped clusters; flowers in a single cluster may be white to pink or lavender, yellow to orange or red.

Bark:

Square stems are covered with bristly hairs when green and are often armed with small prickles.

Fruit:

Round and fleshy, very small. Initially green then turning to purple then blue-black. Unripe berries are toxic.

Other:

Often confused with the endemic native Florida lantana, which can be identified by tapered (rather than truncate) leaf blades. Often forms thickets in sunny open areas and invades disturbed sites such as roadsides. Also frequently found in well-drained undisturbed habitats such as pinelands, hammocks, and beach dunes.

There are now mostly sterile cultivars being produced.



Treat-ment:

Basal with 5% triclopyr ester; stump with 50% triclopyr amine

Rank & Reason:

FLEPPC: 1; FKIETF: 2; Spreads from landscapes to hammock/pineland margins.

Origin:

West Indies

Similar Natives:

Wild Sage (Lantana involucrata); see p.80


Although most folks only refer to them as Lantanas, there are as many as 650 named hybrid varieties and cultivars of Lantana camara in existence. One native lantana, Florida lantana (Lantana depressa) is one of our endangered species. Another native species, sometimes called wild sage (Lantana involucrata) is a more commonly occurring native that has white flowers with yellow centers.


L. camara is also a notorious hybridizer, negatively affecting pure strains of our native lantanas in the wild. The Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council (FEPPC) calls it “a serious, worldwide invader that in some areas has altered habitats and threatens to eliminate populations of native plants and animals.”
However, this unfortunate condition does not necessarily mean that residents should not use lantana of any kind in their landscapes. According to Dr. David Sandrock, several sterile varieties are available. Some are female sterile (produce seeds but very few are viable) and some are male sterile (10% or less of the pollen is viable). Some are both male and female sterile. Pictures and cultivars of these sterile varieties can be found on the next page.
Another popular species of lantana that may be safely used in area landscapes is trailing lantana (Lantana montevidensis). Weeping, vinelike stems make an attractive groundcover. Foliage may turn red to purple in colder months. Flowering is nonstop from spring through fall or year-round in frost-free areas. Trailing lantana cultivars, such as ‘Malan’s Gold’, ‘Pot of Gold’, ‘White Lightnin,’ and ‘Lavendar Swirl are popular choices.

Sterile varieties of Lantana camara


  • Patriot Deen Day Smith – Vigorous mounding type with pastel colors of rose pink, canary yellow apricot. Grows in full sun, 3-4 feet in height. Blooms repeatedly. Soil ph 6.1-7.8 preferred. Can be propagated from cuttings.




  • Patriot Marc Cathey: Dr. Marc Cathey, past president of the American Horticultural Society and past director of the National Arboretum, is a pillar of the green industries. This cultivar is a tall white flowering variety. The flower centers are clear lemon yellow. This is a vigorous growing mounding type, that will attain a height and width of up to 5 feet in one season. No fruit.




  • Miss Huff: ‘Miss Huff’ is one of the most reliably perennial lantanas. It is a vigorous, tall plant, forming an upright mound up to 5 to 6 feet tall in one season. Flowers are a mix of orange, coral and gold. This cultivar prefers full sun and evenly moist well-drained, average soil. Sterile.




  • Mozelle: ‘Mozelle’ is similar to ‘Miss Huff in size and hardiness, but the flowers are much softer in color. The new flowers are yellow, then deepen to pale orange and finally pink for a marvelous color combination. Zones 7-11. Sterile.




  • New Gold -- bright yellow, sterile flowers that bloom profusely but never form berries. This revolutionary new development in lantanas insures that this plant will be a continuous beauty rather than a virulent pest with its unwelcomed seedling offspring. ‘New Gold’ is very similar or the same as ‘Gold Mound’. It is generally reliably hardy on the coast, and frequently overwinters in the Columbia area. ‘New Gold’ is a vigorous spreading plant, reaching 2 feet tall and 4 feet wide. This cultivar is very heavy blooming, with deep gold flowers. It does not produce berries.




  • Pinkie & Dwarf Pinkie -- Pink/cream bicolor, sterile flowers on an extremely compact, trailing plant which never requires cutting back




  • Samantha (Lemon Swirl) -- Bright yellow, sterile blooms and beautiful variegated foliage on a compact bush. A beautiful plant even without blooms! Samantha’ has dark green and chartreuse variegated foliage with bright lemon yellow flowers. It is very similar or the same as ‘Lemon Swirl’. Plants grow 2 to 3 feet tall and 4 feet wide. ‘Samantha’ is a sterile cultivar that does not produce berries.


Sterile varieties of Lantana montevidensis


  • Weeping Lavender -- verbena-like, fragrant, purple flowers with a white eye. Blooms spring until frost and into the winter. Can be used as bedding plant, in containers, baskets, or xeriscape plantings.




  • Weeping White -- Fragrant, white, sterile flowers, low spreading habit is a low-growing plant with small bloom clusters made up of several tiny white flowers. It is considered a perennial in U.S. Department of Agriculture zones 8 to 10, but can be grown as an annual in cooler areas. Trailing white lantana grows 18 to 24 inches tall and is often used as a ground cover. It does well in sun or shade and prefers lightweight soil that drains well.


Make sure you get the cultivar you asked for.


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