Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center - The University of Texas at Austin information

 Native Plant Database

Lantana urticoides

Texas lantana, Calico bush

Verbenaceae (Verbena Family)

Lantana urticoides (Texas lantana)
Marcus, Joseph A.
A spreading shrub, much branched from the ground upward, branches sometimes with prickles. Frequent in brushy places and in woodlands. Bark light gray to light brown, tending to flake off. Young twigs nearly square in cross section, covered with short hairs visible under a 10x hand lens. Leaves opposite, up to 2 1/2 inches long, broadly ovate, pointed at the tip, flattened at the base, upper surface rough to the touch; margins coarsely toothed, teeth broad, pointed or rounded. Flowers colorful, red, orange, and yellow, tubular with four flared lobes; in dense, rounded clusters with a leafy bract subtending each flower, at the ends of long paired stems (peduncles) usually extending beyond the leaves, appearing from April to October. Fruit round, fleshy, dark blue to black.

This species is a member of the verbena family (family Verbenaceae), which includes about 75 genera and 3,000 species of herbs, shrubs, and trees, mostly of tropical and warm temperate regions. Among them, teak is a highly prized furniture wood, and Vervain, Lantana, Lippia or Frog Fruit, and Chase Tree or Vitex are grown as ornamentals.

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43 photo(s) available

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Shrub
Leaf Arrangement: Opposite
Leaf Shape: Ovate
Fruit: Black
Size Class: 3-6 ft.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Red , Orange , Yellow
Bloom Time: Apr , May , Jun , Jul , Aug , Sep , Oct


Native Distribution: East Texas west to southern Arizona, south to Oaxaca in southern Mexico
Native Habitat: Fields, thickets, swamps, rich sandy woods, scrub, gravelly hills, flats. Chaparral and roadsides, almost throughout Texas. Well-drained sand, loam, clay, caliche. Fields; thickets; sandy woods; gravelly hillsides

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Low
Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Moisture: Dry
Heat Tolerant: yes
Soil Description: Poor, well-drained soils.
Conditions Comments: Lantana provides summer color. In winter, some gardeners prune back lantana to keep the plants from getting too large. The stems become thorny especially with age, so caution is necessary when cutting them back. The blue-black fruit clusters are poisonous. Used as a low to medium, flowering ground cover for dry, exposed, poor sites. Crinkly leaves give off a sharp aroma when touched and they can cause a skin rash. Mature plants tend to form large mounds that may be separated into smaller plants in the winter.


Use Wildlife: Attracts butterflies. Deer-proof.
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Attracts: Birds , Butterflies
Nectar Source: yes
Deer Resistant: High

Last Update: 2014-09-29