Lantana is native to Mexico, parts of the Caribbean, Central America, Venezuela, and Colombia. It has been
introduced as an ornamental plant to many other tropical and subtropical areas of the
world, where it has become naturalized and, often, invasive. There are many cultivars.
Identification: Plants are evergreen shrubs, 3-4' (91-121 cm) high (rarely up
to 6' (1.8 m)) and
12-36" (30-91 cm) around, able to grow higher still by clambering over other plants.
Leaves are opposite, 2-5" (5-12 cm) × 1-2" (2.5-5 cm), rough-surfaced, ovate, with crenate edges. Stems and leaves
are hairy. When crushed, they emit an unpleasant odor, likened, among other undesirable odors, to
Flowers form hemispherical umbels 1-2" (2.5-5 cm) in size. Each umbel is composed of flowers that are
¼-⅜" (6.3-9.5 mm) around, 5-petaled, held in neat, crowded, undeniably beautiful arrays. Making them even more attractive
is their spectrum of colors, ranging from whites to yellows to pinks to oranges to reds to purples, mixed within even single
umbels and changing in color as they age. They bloom from July to first frost, nearly continuously in frost-free
Fruits are purple-black drupes (berries), ~³/₁₆" (5-6 mm) in size.
Edibility: Poisonous Foliage is poisonous to people, as well as to grazing
animals. It contains alkaloids, called pentacyclic triterpenoids, that cause liver damage and photosensitivity. Berries are edible when ripe;
poisonous when unripe.