Lantana, or red sage (Lantana camara L., [Verbenaceae]), notorious weed and popular garden flower; Some cases of poisoning in Florida | SpringerLink

Lantana, or red sage (Lantana camara, Verbenaceae) is an aromatic shrub with rough, opposite or whorled leaves and four-angled, prickly or smooth stems, showy heads of small flowers (usually pink-and-yellow Changing to red-and-orange) and dark-blue or blackish-fruits. Native from tropical America to lower Texas and southern Georgia, the bird-distributed plant has become naturalized in the Caribbean, Pacific Islands, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and southern Asia. Hundreds of cultivars are grown in temperate climates. In warm regions, L. camara is a pest in farms, pastures and forests, providing breeding places for diseases, detrimental animals and insects, including the tsetse fly. Of 29 named races in Australia, 19 are toxic or gravely pestiferous. Active principles are the triterpenes lantadene A and B. Ingestion of 340-453 g of leaves causes liver and kidney damage, photosensitization, intestinal hemorrhage, paralysis of the gall bladder, and death in 1-4 days in horses, cattle and sheep (not Goats). Ripe fruits are edible, but green, unripe fruits have caused illness and one known fatality in children in Florida. Leaves and roots are popular folk remedies. Stems are used as toothbrushes, and the leaves for polishing wood. Prickly races are grown as protective hedges around forest dwellings.

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