Excerpts from Jim Conrad's
Naturalist Newsletter

Wild Sage, LANTANA INVOLUCRATA

from the October 2, 2011 Newsletter issued from Mayan Beach Garden Inn 20 kms north of Mahahual, Quintana Roo, México
"WILD SAGE"

Just about any much-branched bush with aromatic, crinkledy leaves is likely to be called "Wild Sage." Dozens of species must go by that name, and that's the case with a hippopotamus-size, woody-stemmed bush commonly growing along the white sand road these days. You can see the woody bush's leaves and flower heads above. A close-up of a dog-faced, little corolla that when fresh is practically white with a yellow center, but pinkens as the day progresses or when broken off, is shown below:

Wild Sage, LANTANA INVOLUCRATA, flower close-up

A cluster of juicy, short-hairy, purplish fruits is below:

Wild Sage, LANTANA INVOLUCRATA, fruits

We've seen shrubs, flowers and fruits like this before, on lantanas and lippias of the Vervain Family, but they were slightly different from what we have here. The "Wild Sage" along the white sand road is LANTANA INVOLUCRATA, differing from most other lantanas by their small heads of white flowers. Crushed leaves are fragrant with an odor like minty marihuana.

A website dealing with modern herbal medicine claims that Lantana involucrata is good for treating measles, chickenpox and hypertension.

The species is native from southern Florida south throughout our area into South America. It does best on well drained "ridge soils."