Veterinary Medicine Library

Lantana (Lantana camara L.)

| Description | Distribution | Conditions of poisoning | Control | Toxic principle | Clinical signs | References



Lantana (yellow sage) is a native of tropical Americas and West Africa. In the northern states including Illinois, it is grown as a garden annual reaching 12-18 inches tall . In the south, from Florida to California, it grows as a perennial shrub of 3-6 feet tall. In the tropics, it may grow even taller. Leaves are opposite, ovate, 1-5 inches long and 1-2 inches wide, with very small rounded teeth, somewhat rough and hairy. Leaves are aromatic when crushed. Flowers are borne in dense clusters 1-2 inches across on the axils near the top of the stem. Each flower is tubular with 4 lobes flaring to about 1/4 inch, initially yellow or pink gradually changing to orange and deep red. Often, the different colored flowers are present on the same cluster. Fruit is fleshy, greenish-blue to black, and berry-like with each containing one seed.


Lantana is commonly found along roadsides, fence rows, and in fields in Florida and southern California where it escaped cultivation. In the northern U.S., it is strictly a garden and greenhouse annual.

Conditions of poisoning

Animals in pastures with sufficient forage will often avoid Lantana, perhaps because of its pungent aroma and taste, but animals unfamiliar to the plant may ingest enough to affect them. Fifty to ninety percent of animals newly exposed may be affected. Foliage and ripe berries contain the toxic substances with the toxins being in higher concentrations in the green berries. Species affected include cattle, sheep, horses, dogs, guinea pigs, and rabbits (Ross, Ivan A. Medicial plants of the world. Totowa, N.J.: Humana. 1999. p. 187.)

Toxic principle

Lantana contains lantadene A and B (the major toxins involved in poisoning) as well as other structurally and toxicologically related pentacyclic triterpene acids, including reduced lantadene A, dihydrolantadene A, and icterogenin.

Clinical Signs

The major clinical effect of Lantana toxicosis is photosensitization, the onset of which often takes place in 1 to 2 days after consumption of a toxic dose (1% or more of animal's body weight). Jaundice is usually prominent, animals usually become inappetent, and they often exhibit decreased digestive tract motility and constipation. Other signs may include: sluggishness, weakness, and transient, sometimes bloody diarrhea. In acute cases, death occurs in 2 to 4 days. Subacute poisoning is more common and may result in death after 1 to 3 weeks of illness and weight loss. Raw photosensitized surface areas are susceptible to invasions by blowfly maggots and bacteria. In severely affected cattle, lesions may appear at the muzzle, mouth, and nostrils. Ulceration may be present in the cheeks, tongue, and gums, while swelling, hardening, peeling of mucous membranes, and deeper tissues occur in the nostrils.

Other References:

Lantana entry in Wikipedia

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