Lantana

Lantana is a declared Class B and Class C weed and Lantana camara is a Weed of National Significance.

Go to the Weeds of National Significance website for more information.

There are two types of lantana in the NT, common lantana and creeping lantana.

The Latin names are Lantana camara and L. montevidensis.

Lantana - infestation

Identification

You should use this as a guide. There may be other plants or weeds that look similar.

If you are unsure, contact the Weed Management Branch.

Habit

These features describe the habit of common lantana:

  • many branched, spreading shrub
  • 2 to 4m tall
  • often forming dense thickets.

Lantana - habit (common)

These features describe the habits of creeping lantana:

  • scrambling low woody shrub
  • up to half a metre tall
  • short, profusely flowering branches that form mats
  • ornamental.

Lantana - habit (creeping)

Stems and branches

These features can identify the stems and branches:

  • young stems are square, hairy and green
  • mature stems become cylindrical, grey-brown and lose their hair
  • short taproot and mat of many shallow side roots
  • common lantana has short prickles but creeping lantana does not.

Lantana - stems and branches (common) Lantana - stems and branches (creeping)

Leaves

These features can identify the leaves:

  • opposite
  • bright green above, paler beneath
  • approximately 6cm long in common lantana, but only 3cm long in creeping lantana
  • mildly toothed and hairy
  • emit a pungent odour when crushed.

Lantana - leaves (common) Lantana - leaves (creeping)

Flowers

These features can identify the flowers of common lantana:

  • flower heads are about 2.5cm wide
  • made up of 20 to 40 flowers
  • present throughout the year
  • common lantana colours vary between red, orange, pink, purple, cream and pale yellow
  • creeping lantana colours are mainly pink or purple with white or yellow centres.

Lantana - flowers (common) Lantana - flowers (creeping)

Fruit and seeds

These features can identify the fruit and seeds:

  • berries ripen from green to shiny purple-black
  • contain a single pale seed.

Lantana - fruit and seeds (common) Lantana - fruit and seeds (creeping)

Impact

Lantana is allelopathic, meaning it can release chemicals into the soil which prevent germination and competition from some other plant species.

Lantana can have all of the following impacts:

  • displace native species
  • alter fire regimes
  • leaves and seeds are toxic to many animals, causing gastrointestinal disturbance, photosensitivity and potentially death in cattle and sheep
  • loss of productivity due to toxicity to stock and pasture replacement.

Habitat and distribution

Lantana is native to the Americas and was introduced to Australia as an ornamental plant.

It thrives in disturbed areas, but can also become the dominant understorey in undisturbed areas.

There are twenty-nine different forms of lantana now naturalised in eastern Australia. Small infestations have occurred in the NT in Darwin, Adelaide River, Katherine, Mataranka and on Groote Eylandt.

Spread prevention

Lantana is spread by birds and other animals consuming and passing the seeds in their droppings, as well as by vegetative reproduction.

You can prevent the spread of lantana by doing all of the following:

  • remove lantana from gardens and landscaping
  • map infestations to help develop a management plan
  • control minor infestations, isolated outbreaks or seedlings first
  • designate wash down areas and actively work to prevent contamination of clean areas
  • monitor areas that you have treated and watch for re-infestations
  • report new occurrences of lantana to the Weed Management Branch.

Lantana - spread

Control

Some long term residents of the NT may have become accustomed to seeing lantana behaving in a non-invasive manner. Please be aware that different varieties can behave differently in different circumstances, and both forms are known to invade and/or persist in the NT.

Chemical control

The best time to treat lantana is from December to March. Below is a list of treatment methods that can be used.

Chemical concentration Rate Situation, method and notes
Fluroxypyr 200 g/L
Various trade names
0.5-1 L / 100 L or
3 L / ha (boom)
Seedling or adult (individuals or infestation):
Foliar spray – use higher rate on plants over 1.2m, apply when actively growing
Fluroxypyr 333 g/L
Starane® Advanced
300-600ml / 100 L Seedling or adult (individuals or infestation):
Foliar spray – use higher rate on plants over 1.2m, apply when actively growing
Triclopyr 300 g/L + Picloram 100 g/L
Various trade names
350-500ml
(750) /100 L or
3 L / ha (boom)
Seedling (individuals and infestation):
Foliar spray – use higher rate on plants > 1m (highest for harder to kill varieties),
apply when actively growing, non-ionic wetting agent required
Aminopyralid 8 g/L + Triclopyr 300 g/L +
Picloram 100 g/L
Grazon® Extra
350-500ml
(750) / 100 L or
10 L / ha (aerial)
Seedling (individuals and infestation):
Foliar spray – use higher rate on plants > 1m (highest for harder to kill varieties),
apply when actively growing, non-ionic wetting agent required
Triclopyr 240 g/L + Picloram 120 g/L 1 L / 60 L (diesel)

1 L / 60 L (diesel)
Seedling (individuals):
Basal bark < 15cm stem diameter
Adult (individuals or infestation):
Cut stump > 15cm stem diameter
Triclopyr 600 g/L
Various trade names
1 L / 60 L (diesel)

1 L / 60 L (diesel)
Seedling (individuals):
Basal bark < 5cm stem diameter
Adult (individuals or infestation):
Cut stump > 5cm stem diameter

Non-chemical control

Blade ploughing

A blade plough is used to push over some woody shrubs and sever their roots underground.

Bulldozing

Bulldozers, chopper rollers or graders are used to clear large weed infestations. This leaves large areas of soil exposed so follow up control or revegetation should be considered.

Stick raking

A large blade with teeth attached to a bulldozer is used to clear large weed infestations. This leaves large areas of soil exposed so follow up control or revegetation should be considered.

Fire

Fire as a management technique is most effective when it is used together with other methods. It is useful for mass seedling control if there is a sufficient fuel load.

Last updated: 12 July 2017