Invasion Biology

Wednesday, January 24, 2007


Lantana camara is an indigenous plant of South America. [1] The species was introduced in most of the country as ornamental plant. It has been declared invasive in most part of the world. The invasiveness of lantana camara has also been recognized in African continent. The invasion of lantana camara in Africa need attention as it has economic and social impact, which is influencing poverty in the continent.

The Lantana camara grows as weed in a thicket forming shrub that can spread to various environment. The leaves of Lantana camara are rough and hairy with aromatic smell when grind. [4] It flower grows in on the axils near the stem. [4]The flowers have various colours, it starts to bear flower with pale colour and change to orange when they are old. The fruits of lantana camara look like berry, the fruit contain one seeds. [4] In some parts of the world, lantana camara fruits are eaten and it is palatable to some animal especial goat.

The Lantana camara grows in high rainfall areas, in areas with tropical temperature. The species grow in organic soil, this tend to make it easy to invade sub Sahara regions. The species invade disturbed area like cultivated area. Its habitant of lantana camara includes range land, waste place and near the fence. In most of the African continent, the species was introduced for ornamental purpose and it then spread. [4]

The lantana camara spread more easily, through vegetative reproduction. [4] Where stem sends shoots it o the soil, allowing it to form dense stand and spread. [4] It also spread through pollination where birds and other animals carry seeds for long distance. [4] The ability of lantana camara to colonise area easily is because it can release chemicals in it surrounding that can prevent germination and growth of other plant species around.[2]

In African continent, the management of lantana camara need to be taken into consideration. It brings confusion in the context of alien species, this because it cannot be considered invasion in the country side of Africa. Some animal and people ate its fruits and it cannot be seen as alien invasion in the country side of African continent. In India, it has been used as herbal medicine; it can also be used as fuel wood. [3]

The invasion of the lantana camara has social and economic impact, which needs to be controlled mostly in Africa. It invades cultivated land, in which it releases chemicals to make it difficult for the growth of other plant. [2] This tends to reduce the crop production in Africa. This is because the herbicide control is expensive, the disadvantage group cannot afford to use it to control the spread of lantana in their farms. [2]

The use of other alternative method to control lantana camara can also have impact on our biodiversity. [2] Methods such as fire and physical control can influence the introduction of other alien species. fire burn the species and allows regeneration, whichmake it easy of invasion of new species. [2] This method need to be used with more attention of its advantage of introducing new species.

In general, the invasion of lantana camara in Africa has influence on reducing crop production. It also affect the animals stock, this because lantana camara have toxic chemicals that can affect animals. [4]

1. Global invasive species program, 2003. Africa Invaded: Lantana [Internet] Cited 2006 Jan 24 Available from:

2. Verbenaceae L. 2007. Pacific Island Ecosystems at Risk (PIER): Lantana camara
[Internet] Cited 2006 Jan 24 Available from:

3. Global invasive species Database, 2006. Lantana camara (shrub) [Internet] Cited 2006 Jan 24 Available from:

4. Weeds of National Significance: Weed Management GuideDepartment of the Environment and Heritage and the CRC for Australian Weed Management, 200. Lantana (Lantana camara) [Internet] Cited 2006 Jan 24 Available from:

Mr Elelwani Muanalo
CSIR Pretoria
NISL- Ecological Informatics
Blogger url:


  • Hey Peter!

    Okay, first off, the generic name is ALWAYS capitalized. So it's not "lantana camara", it's "Lantana camara".

    You speak in broad terms of social and economic impact this species has. Be more specific! If possible, give figures.

    Lastly, it would be nice to have a bit more discussion about the methods used to control the spread of this plant. (For example, how does fire control influence the introduction of other species?

    By Blogger NcK, at January 24, 2007 3:44 PM  

  • Bah! Sorry I called you Peter, Elewani, it's just difficult keeping track when you all post at once.

    My apologies!

    By Blogger NcK, at January 24, 2007 4:57 PM  

  • Would be happy to provide any information from recent Australian trials

    Cheers (Please note new phone number and address)
    Dr Daniel Stock
    Project Officer - Lantana Best Practice Management

    Biosecurity QLD
    Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries
    Animal Research Institute, Sheep and Wool Building

    665 Fairfield Road, Yeerongpilly 4105
    LMB 4 Moorooka 4105

    Phone: (07) 3362 9543 | Fax: (07) 3362 9579 | Mobile: 0428 987 746

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at October 24, 2008 12:10 PM  

  • Invasive in Cwebe Nature Reserve, in the Eastern Cape of South Africa, from the gardens of the Haven Hotel and cottages along the coast.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at November 02, 2008 5:18 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home