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Lantana urticoides (Texas lantana)
Henry, Lisa

Lantana urticoides

Lantana urticoides Hayek

Texas Lantana, Calico Bush

Verbenaceae (Verbena Family)

Synonym(s): Lantana hispida, Lantana horrida, Lantana horrida var. latibracteata, Lantana notha, Lantana scorta, Lantana urticoides var. hispidula

USDA Symbol: LAUR2

USDA Native Status: L48 (N)

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 Chaste Tree or Vitex are grown as ornamentals.


From the Image Gallery

84 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Shrub
Leaf Arrangement: Opposite
Leaf Shape: Ovate
Fruit Type: Drupe
Size Notes: Up to about 6 feet tall, often shorter.
Fruit: Black

Bloom Information

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


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


Seed Collection: Collect seeds as soon as the fruit has filled out and turned dark. Air dry with pulp on or clean before storage. Store in sealed, refrigerated containers.
Commercially Avail: yes

Find Seed or Plants

Order seed of this species from Native American Seed and help support the Wildflower Center.

Mr. Smarty Plants says

Small shrub to plant in Austin Texas
March 11, 2009
Hi.. I live in Southwest Austin and I am looking for a shrub that I can plant against the back of my house, which faces the north. I want something native, fairly low maintenance and not too large,...
view the full question and answer

Spring blooming plants for spring sun and summer shade
July 03, 2007
I live in San Antonio. I'm faced with a dilemma. I've got mature native pecans. In the summer they provide beautiful full shade. However, in the winter and even into the late spring, my yard is ...
view the full question and answer

Deer resistant, sun tolerant plants for landscaping
April 19, 2007
I live in Driftwood and am looking for flowering, deer-resistant plants for the northern side of my house; however the house turn just enough to the west that the flowerbed receives about 3 hours of a...
view the full question and answer

List of native perennial Texas flowers
March 13, 2006
Good day, I am searching for a list of native Texas flowers (preferably perennials) for a flower garden. Thank you.
view the full question and answer

National Wetland Indicator Status

This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1 (Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here for map of regions.

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:

Naval Air Station Kingsville - Kingsville, TX
Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center - Austin, TX
Sibley Nature Center - Midland, TX
Brackenridge Field Laboratory - Austin, TX
Patsy Glenn Refuge, c/o Wimberley Birding Society - Wimberley, TX
NPSOT - Native Plant Society of Texas - Fredericksburg, TX
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department - Austin, TX
NPSOT - Fredericksburg Chapter - Fredericksburg, TX
Texas Master Naturalists - Lost Pines Chapter - Bastrop, TX
NPSOT - Austin Chapter - Austin, TX
National Butterfly Center - Mission, TX
NPSOT - Williamson County Chapter - Georgetown, TX

Herbarium Specimen(s)

NPSOT 0218 Collected May 11, 1992 in Comal County by Mary Beth White
NPSOT 0451 Collected Jun 5, 1987 in Bexar County by Harry Cliffe
NPSOT 0854 Collected Apr 29, 1994 in Bexar County by Harry Cliffe

3 specimen(s) available in the Digital Herbarium


Bibref 841 - Native Alternatives to Invasive Plants (2006) Burrell, C. C.
Bibref 318 - Native Texas Plants: Landscaping Region by Region (2002) Wasowski, S. & A. Wasowski

Search More Titles in Bibliography

Web Reference

Webref 23 - Southwest Environmental Information Network (2009) SEINet - Arizona Chapter
Webref 1 - Texas Native Shrubs (2002) Texas A&M University Agriculture Program and Leslie Finical, Dallas Arboretum

Additional resources

USDA: Find Lantana urticoides in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Lantana urticoides in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Lantana urticoides


Record Modified: 2023-02-15
Research By: TWC Staff

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