Excerpts from Jim Conrad's
Naturalist Newsletter

from the March 31, 2007 Newsletter issued from Sierra Gorda Biosphere Reserve, QUERÉTARO, MÉXICO

I've never found it easy to distinguish between Lantanas and Verbenas without seeing the fruits. Up North where you have only a handful of species the differences among flowers look pretty obvious but when you start meeting the many other often-tropical species, things get less clear. With the fruits, however, it's more clear-cut: A Verbena ovary separates into four nutlets, while Lantana ovaries produce fruits with two bony nutlets.

Therefore, the Shrub Verbena that's been flowering here ever since I arrived is clearly really a Lantana, since its ovary matures into into a fleshy fruit with two bony nutlets. You can see the flowers of our very common, very pretty Lantana species below:


From what I find on the web, Lantana camara and Lantana urticoides are often confused, and both grow here. Both are long-flowering shrubs with strong-smelling herbage, and both have horticultural variations with different-colored flowers. I read that urticoides leaves are normally ovate (egg-shaped) to round with margins bearing a few teeth 2-5mm high, while camera leaves may have their bases forming broad lobes that extend backwards (cordate) or be triangular in shape, and leaf margins bear many teeth that are only 0.5-1.5mm high. According to those criteria, here we have LANTANA CAMARA.