Lantana camara is a widespread shrub with colourful flowers. It’s poisonous to people and livestock, invades native ecosystems, fuels bushfires, and costs land managers more than $22 million each year - so it’s not one you want sticking around.
It can grow on roadsides, woodlands, fence lines, riverbanks and more. Originally sold as an ornamental plant, it’s since spread across NSW and Queensland.
It is a poisonous, non-native weed that scientists are working to control by understanding its genetic make-up - and they need help from collaborators to make it happen.
By documenting patterns in lantana’s genetic diversity across Australia, scientists can identify groups of genetically similar plants and the most effective biocontrol agents to tackle each group specifically.
But scientists need more plants to study, which means help from collaborators – this might be you!
If suitable, you’ll be sent a sampling kit and instructions to collect and submit the weeds to the team involved to study (at the researchers’ cost).
Patricia Lu-Irving is one of the scientists involved in this research. She says with more lantana specimens to study, scientists can better predict which biocontrol agents will work best, reducing the impact of this weed.
If you think you’ve got lantana on land that you manage, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.