Scientific name
Lantana camara

Family name

Local name(s)
Yewof-qolo (Amargna), Shimbero, Katekate (Oromiffa)

General description
L. camara is a small much-branched shrub usually 1 - 1.5m high, occasionally to 3m. Stems are prickly. The leaves are aromatic, in threes, opposite, margin serrated, coarse above. Flowers are purplish pink to orange, bone in clusters. Corolla over 3mm across the apex. Fruits are 5 - 8mm in diameter and of blue-black color when ripe, numerous on one head, each one-seeded.

Edible part(s), preparation methods and palatability
Fruits are edible. The fruits are eaten fresh and raw. Children consume fruits. But the fruits are very small and presumably do not contribute much to a daily nutritional intake.

The species was introduced from South America. It grows in the low- as well as in the mid- and the highlands (1,300 - 2,700m). It is of American origin and now widespread in Africa and throughout the tropics in forest and at bush edges, disturbed forests and roadsides. The species is found all over Ethiopia mostly on fertile sandy and light clay soil. It has been spread by running water and birds, which feed on it, to become a major weed in agricultural areas.

Propagation method(s)
By seeds

Sample location(s)
(1) Jarso Kebele, Segen River, Konso; (2) Babile Woreda, East Hararghe

L. camara is cultivated as an ornamental and for fencing and is becoming a noxious weed in certain areas. Branches are used as broom and the leaves as animal (goats) fodder.

1 Parts of the following description have been taken from MacLachlan, 1999 (no page numbers), who has got the description from Fichtl, 1994: p.210 & Bukenya-Ziraba, 1996.

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L. camara bushes used as border plantings along crop fields in Babile Woreda, East Hararghe

L. camara bush with flowers & ripe fruits