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Lantana camara

Ascending to erect shrub, vigorous and with a strong odor. Yellow, orange to pink flowers, gathered in showy inflorescences.

Scientific name: Lantana camara L.

Common name: lantana, arch man, common lantana, large leaf lantana, pink-flowered lantana, prickly lantana, red sage, red-flowered sage, shrub verbena, tickberry, white sage, wild sage, yellow sage

Family: Verbenaceae

Status in Portugal: Invasive species in the Azores and on Madeira; in mainland Portugal its occurrence is increasing mainly in the south of the territory, it appears casually in other places, escaped from cultivation. Listed in Decree-Law no. 92/2019, 10 July.

Risk Assessment Score: 34 | Value obtained according to a protocol adapted from the Australian Weed Risk Assessment (Pheloung et al. 1999), by Morais et al. (2017), according to which values above 13 mean that the species has risk of having invasive behavior in the Portuguese territory | Updated on 30/09/2017.

Synonymy: Lantana aculeata L., Lantana camara L. var. aculeata (L.) Moldenke, Lantana camara L. var. flava (Medik.) Moldenke, Lantana camara L. var. hybrida (Neubert) Moldenke, Lantana camara L. var. mista (L.) L. H. Bailey, Lantana camara L. var. mutabilis (Hook.) L. H. Bailey, Lantana camara L. var. nivea (Vent.) L. H. Bailey, Lantana camara L. var. sanguinea (Medik.) L. H. Bailey, Lantana scabrida Aiton, Lantana tiliifolia auct. non Cham.

Last update: 28/11/2016 | Profile prepared by the Azores Biodiversity Group Team, from the University of the Azores.

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Avistamentos actuais da espécie: 

How to recognize it

Upright, low or sub-scandent shrub, vigorous, with strong, recurved thorns and a strong odor of wild fruits, reaching 2 to 4 m.

Leaves: ovate or ovateoblong, acute or subacute, rough above, scabrous on both sides.

Flowers: small, tubular, orange, or varying between white and red, in various shades and with a reddish part at the entrance of the tube; gathered in axillary inflorescences.

Fruits: small drupe, blue-green, black, shiny, with two seeds.

Flowering: April and May.

Similar species

Lantana camara is similar to Lantana montevidensis, but the latter is smaller, prostrate and has a pink flower..

Characteristics that aid invasion

The plant reaches sexual maturation in 2 to 3 years and reproduces seminally with the production of hundreds to thousands of seeds/plant/year. Dispersal is natural by endozoochory, favored by planting, abandonment of land and alteration of the territory.

Native distribution area

Central and South America.

Distribution in Portugal

Mainland Portugal (Douro Litoral, Beira Litoral, Baixo Alentejo, and Algarve), the Azores and on Madeira.

For more detailed locations of this species, check the online interactive map. This map is still incomplete – we need your help! Contribute by submitting records of the location of the species where you can find it.


Geographical areas where Lantana camara L. is recorded.


Other places where the species is invasive

Cape Verde, Southern and Eastern Europe, Eastern and Western Africa, Madagascar, Mauritania, North America, Caribbean, India, China, Asia, Australia, and New Zealand.

Introduction reasons

The introduction was intentional for ornamental purposes in gardens and parks.

Preferential invasion environments

Coastal scrublands, cultivated land and vegetation of anthropic origin. Used in hedges or gardens.


Impacts on ecosystems

The species forms dense patches that disrupt the structure, abundance and succession of the ecosystems it invades. It prevents the development of native vegetation and reduces species diversity through competition and recruitment.

Economic impacts

Potentially high costs in applying control measures.

Natura 2000 Network habitats more prone to impacts

– Endemic Macaronesian heaths (4050);

– Low formations of Euphorbia close to cliffs (5320).

Controlling an invasive species demands a well-planned management, which includes the determination of the invaded area, identifying the causes of invasion, assessing the impacts, defining the intervention priorities, selecting the adequate control methodologies and their application. Afterwards it is fundamental to monitor the efficiency of the methodologies and recuperation of the intervened area as to perform, whenever necessary, the follow-up control.

The control methodologies used for Lantana camara include:

Physical control

Hand pulling: is the most effective way of control. The total extraction of the root and the plant requires labor and work time; however, it is feasible and advisable in easy-access places, with low erosion risk or where small patches occur close to populations of rare and endangered species. Plant residues/fragments can be left in place to dry. 

Visit the webpage How to Control for additional and more detailed information about the correct application of these methodologies.


DAISIE European invasive">Invasive Alien species">Species Gateway (2012) Lantana camara L.. Disponível: http://www.europe-aliens.org/speciesFactsheet.do?speciesId=19121 [Retri... 08/10/2015].

Flora Digital de Portugal (2014) Lantana camara L. (Lam.) Baill.. Disponível: http://jb.utad.pt/especie/lantana_camara [Retrieved 08/10/2015].

Silva L, Corvelo R, Moura M, García Gallo A, Carvalho JA (2008) Lantana camara L.. In: Silva L, E Ojeda Land & JL Rodríguez Luengo (eds.) Flora e Fauna Invasora da Macaronésia. TOP 100 nos Açores, Madeira e Canárias, pp. 294-297. ARENA, Ponta Delgada.

Marchante H, Morais M, Freitas H, Marchante E (2014) Guia Prático para a Identificação de Plantas invasoras">Invasoras em Portugal. Imprensa da Universidade de Coimbra, Coimbra, pp. 63.

Schäfer H (2005) Flora of the Azores. A Field Guide. Second Enlarged edition. Margraf Publishers, Weikersheim.