Lantana – how to identify this poisonous plant and diagnose/treat poisoning.
Vervain (Verbenaceae) Family
Description: The poisonous Lantana plant, also known as Spanish Flag, Big Sage, Blacksage, Wild Sage, Prickly Lantana, or West Indian Lantana, is a low erect, shrub-like plant that may grow up to 45 centimeters (18 inches) high. It has opposite, round to oval shaped leaves about 1-5 inches long and 1-2 inches wide with very small rounded teeth and very small hairs. Its leaves are aromatic when crushed.
Its flowers are borne in flat-topped, dense clusters 1-2 inches across with each flower being tubular with 4 petals. The flower color (which varies in different areas) may be a mixture of white, yellow, orange, pink, and red or blue and white. The flowers change colors as the plant matures and may be two or three-colored and emit a strong odor. It has a dark blue, greenish blue, or black berrylike fruit that contains a single seed. A distinctive feature of all parts of this plant is its strong scent.
All parts of this plant are poisonous if eaten and can be fatal with the green berries being the most toxic. This plant causes skin irritation in some individuals. Symptoms of poisoning include coma, death, diarrhea, drowsiness, difficulty breathing, dilated pupils, vomiting, sensitivity to light, and skin irritation.
Habitat and Distribution: Lantana is grown as an ornamental in tropical and temperate areas and has escaped cultivation as a weed along roads and old fields.