What does it look like?
Smelly scrambling evergreen shrub to 4-5 m with woody taproot with laterals that sucker when broken. Young stems are 4-angled, hairy and prickly, and older stems are rounded, woody, much branched, and brittle. Hairy, ovalish leaves (3-9 cm long) in opposite pairs along the stems, very wrinkled, and have toothed edges. Conspicuous flat flower heads (2-3 cm across) with many tiny tubular flowers, each cream, yellow, orange, pink, red, purple or mixtures of these, changing colour as they mature, are present all year round. Small, clustered, berry-like fruits, green ripening to juicy purple-black, contain one small pale seed per fruit.
Why is it a problem?
Produces many, well-dispersed seeds, is long-lived, and forms dense thickets that exclude other species. It is also allelopathic (produce toxins that poison the soil around it) so other species cannot replace it. Extremely versatile in habitat preferences, preferring well drained soils and high rainfall but thriving in clay also. Tolerates drought, moderate shade, and fire, but is susceptible to hard frost. Poisonous (not grazed).
How does it spread?
Seeds are spread by birds, and suckering roots allow thickets to remain dense. Roots and seeds are spread in contaminated soil, dumped vegetation, and common sources are gardens, roadsides, and waste areas.
What damage does it do?
Totally smothers and replaces all other species on the ground, causing permanent loss of habitat.
Most low-growing plant communities, disturbed and regenerating bush in warmer regions, inshore islands, cliffs, gumlands, foreshores, and bush margins, especially in northern North Island.
How much of it do we have?
Lantana is found throughout our area in isolate pockets. It is commonly found in gardens and has since made its escape into the environment establishing in our native reserves. There is an infestation of lantana on the Cove Coast walkway in Waipu
What Can I do to control it?
Remove small infestations first.
1. Spray (best in November-December): glyphosate (100ml/10L + penetrant) or Tordon Gold (10ml/L).
2. Cut down and paint stump (all year round): glyphosate (200ml/L).
3. Dig out. Generally not recommended as roots resprout unless all fragments removed. Use only on small plants and where herbicides cannot be used. Leave on site to rot down.
Physical removal largely ineffective as root fragments sucker where broken. Cut stems resprout. Recovers well after fire. Reseeds in bared areas after spraying. Avoid root disturbance if possible when controlling. Check all treated sites for seedlings and suckers. Don’t replant for two years after all plants destroyed. Seed longevity usually low. Replant with dense cover and constantly check for new seedlings.
Caution: when using any herbicide or pesticide PLEASE READ THE LABEL THOROUGHLY to ensure that all instructions and safety requirements are followed.
Photos of lantana