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Lantana is already here but we’re working to get rid of it.

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Why it is a pest plant


Identifying Features

Production threat Environmental threat Public threat

Lantana is a long-lived scrambling evergreen shrub, native to tropical America. It was originally brought to New Zealand as an ornamental shrub due to its attractive flower.

Lantana can totally smother and replace other species, forming dense thickets causing loss of habitat. It is ‘allelopathic’, which means it releases toxins into the surrounding soil suppressing other plants. It is also toxic to livestock.

Its woody taproot will produce suckers when broken. Lantana grows easily by layering when its branches touch the ground and put roots down. It will grow from vegetative fragments, so it is recommended that these are disposed of appropriately, preferably to a landfill. Lantana is a prolific producer of seeds which are then spread by birds.

Identifying Features

Lantana is a low, multi-branched, scrambling perennial shrub with a strong root system. It grows 2-4m tall and has backwards-pointing prickles on its stems.


  • Up to 20-40 small flowers per head.
  • Colours range from white, cream or yellow to orange, pink, purple and red.
  • Flowers present all year round.

Fruit/ seed

  • Small, clustered berry-like fruit.
  • Fruit is initially green but ripens to a juicy purple-black colour.
  • One small pale seed in each fruit. Seeds are attractive to birds.


  • Oval and wrinkly, with fine hairs.
  • Growing opposite each other on the stem.
  • Give off a strong smell when crushed.

Responsibility for control

Waikato Regional Council is responsible for the control of lantana. If you think you’ve seen it, call us.

Waikato Regional Council is responsible for controlling lantana. However, landowners/occupiers are encouraged to report lantana on their properties and liaise with the council in areas where control programmes are in place. Lantana is also banned from being sold, propagated, distributed or included with commercial displays.

How to control Lantana

If you see these weeds on your property, do not cut or treat it. Call 0800 BIOSEC (0800 246 732) to report them to your local biosecurity pest plant officer.


More information


  • For advice and additional information on control methods, call our pest plant staff on freephone 0800 BIOSEC (0800 246 732).
  • Chemical company representatives, farm supply stores and garden centres can also be good sources for advice.


View, download or order the following publications  or call our freephone 0800 800 401.

  • National Pest Plant Accord (Manual of plants banned from sale, propagation and distribution) ($10.00 plus GST)
  • Plant Me Instead! (Plants to use in place of common pest plants) (free)
  • Waikato Regional Pest Management Plan (RPMP) (free) (Section 5.23, page 83)
  • Waikato Regional Council pest guide (free)


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