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Lantana camara L.

Botanical Name

Lantana camara L.


Camara vulgaris Benth., Lantana annua C.B.Clarke [Invalid], Lantana antillana Raf., Lantana asperata Vis., Lantana coccinea Lodd. ex G.Don [Invalid], Lantana crocea Jacq., Lantana glandulosissima Hayek, Lantana mixta Medik., Lantana moritziana Otto & A.Dietr., Lantana sanguinea Medik., Lantana suaveolens Desf. [Illegitimate], Lantana undulata Raf., Lantana urticifolia Mill., Lantana viburnoides Blanco [Illegitimate], Lantana spinosa L. ex Le Cointe [8]



Vernacular Names


Bunga tahi ayam, bunga tahi ayam busuk, bunga pagar, bunga tahi anjing, tahi ayam munai, bunga tahi asu, bunga asam senyur [6]


Surinam tea plant, [1] lantana, wild sage,  red sage, sherry pie, shrub verbena, yellow sage, [3] flowered sage, [6] mountain sage [7]


Ma ying dan, wu se mei [3]


Ghaneri, pulikampa, bara phulanoo, vaneri [3]


Ta ayam, waung [3]


Phakaa krong [3]


Cinco negritos, kantutay, coronitas [3]


Bang oi, tram hoi [3]


Rantana, shichi-henge [3]


Lantanier [3]


Wandelröschen [3]


Camará, cambará, cambará-de-cheiro, cambará-de-chumu, chumbinho (Portuguese) [3].


Lantana camara is a member of the Verbenaceae family. It is a much branched spreading and thicket-forming shrub that could reach up to 8 m high. The young stems are 4-angles with sharp and recurved prickles on the angles. More matured stems are rounded and devoid of the prickles. The leaves are simple, opposite and strong smelling. The rough-textured, wrinkled leaves are broadly ovate and toothed with short petioles. The tiny tubular flowers are arranged in hemispherical heads about 2-3 cm diameter. Each flower heads comprised of multicoloured flowers of cream, yellow, orange, pink or red hue. The fruits are globular, green when unripe, turning purplish-black as it ripens, and contain one woody seed within [4] [5].


Native of the neotropic countries; Mexico, Tropical America, Florida, Texas, Hawaii. Naturalised in Tropical Asia since its introduction by the colonials [3].

Plant Use

L. camara has been promoted as an ornamental due to colours displayed by the flowers of the indigenous and horticultural variants. [2] [5]  

It has some medicinal values and being used by local traditional practitioners such as leaves or ground roots for cuts, ulsers, swellings, and rheumatism; decoction of roots for toothache, headache, inflammation, gonorrhoea, and leucorrhoea; and decoction of leaves and flowers for constipation, as febrifuge, diaphoretic and stimulant. [9]

Toxic Parts

Whole plant [1].

It is believed that both unripe and ripe fruits can be lethal [4].


The leaves contain toxic principle, lantadenes A and B, which cause acute photosensitization, jaundice, kidney and liver lesions. A steroid, lancamarone is cardiocative and fish poison. [1]

Lantadenes are slowly absorbed in the small intestine and this prolonged, continuous, and low-level absorption provides the continuing source of the toxins to cause significant damage to the liver tissue. Lantadenes are metabolised in the liver and excreted in the bile causing damage to bile canalicular membranes and microvilli (cholangitis). This results in obstruction and blockage to bile flow. There is also hepatocyte damage and irritation to alimentary tract mucosa causing malaena or black diarrhoea. Death is occured due to liver and kidney injury together with dehydration and electrolyte imbalance and metabolic acidosis [2].

Risk Management

There is not much risk of the plant causing poisoning to humans due to the unpleasant odour the plant emits. However, children are always at risk of consuming the ripened fruits. There have been reports of lethal poisoning due to consuming the unripe, green fruit by children [2] [4].

Clinical Findings

L. camara intoxication is not as common in humans as in animals from ingestion of the leaves. This is probably because the plants have an overpoweringly unpleasant odour when individuals are in close associated with them. Human exposure is usually via herbal products. However, ingestion of green unripe fruits by children may produce within a few hours weakness, lethargy, vomiting, diarrhoea, laboured respiration, and mydriasis. In most cases, the signs will be mild to moderate, and recovery will be uncomplicated. The leaves are rough and may have an irritant effect on the skin [2].

Symptoms of poisoning due to ingestion of leaves in livestock include loss of appetite, frequent urination, dehydration and yellowing of the inner mouth and eyes as liver functions are disturbed, hair loss from the skin, the mouth and eyes swell and ulcerate, and the animal may dies within one to four weeks [5].


Treatment is mainly conservative and may include gastric lavage and general supportive care in the form of fluids, glucose and electrolytes IV. Sodium thiosulphate 0.5 g/kg body weight. IV has been suggested as an antidote [2]

Even though symptoms may be delayed following ingestion of unripe fruits, treatment should begin as soon as possible. Prompt treatment is an important factor in preventing death. The treatment includes gastric lavage [4].


  1. Khare CP. Indian medicinal plants: An illustrated dictionary. Berlin: Springer-Verlag; 2007. p. 362.
  2. Burrows GE, Tyrl RJ. Toxic plants of North America. New York: John Wiley & Sons; 2012. p. 1204-1205.
  3. Seidemann J. World spice plants: Economic usage, botany, taxonomy. Berlin: Springer-Verlag; 2005. p. 196.
  4. Tull D. Edible and useful plants of Texas and the Southwest: A practical guide. Austin: University of Texas Press; 2003. p. 183-184.
  5. Labrada R, Caseley JC, Parker C. Weed management for developing countries. Rome: Food and Agriculture Organisation; 1994. p. 105.
  6. Zakaria M, Mohd MA. Traditional Malay medicinal plants. Kuala Lumpur: Institut Terjemahan Negara Malaysia; 2010. p. 137.
  7. Hanelt P, Buttner R. Mansfeld’s encyclopedia of agricultural and horticultural crops. Berlin: Springer-Verlag; 2001. p. 1937.
  8. The Plant List. Lantana camara L. Ver1.1. c2013 [cited 2014 Sept 26] Available from:
  9. Windadri FI, van Valkenburg JLCH. Lantana camara L. In: de Padua LS, Bunyapraphatsara N, Lemmens RHMJ, editors. Plant Resources of South-East Asia No. 12(1): Medicinal and poisonous plants 1. Leiden, Netherlands: Backhuys Publisher, 1999; p. 341-342

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