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Lantana rugosa  

Scientific name:Lantana rugosa 

Family: Verbenaceae

Common Names: bird’s beer, bird’s brandy (Eng.); voëlbrandewyn, wildesalie (Afr.); sekwebetane (isiNdebele); utyani-bentaka, utywala bentaka (isiXhosa); impema, ubukhwebezane, ubungungundwane, uguguvama, umkhukhuthwane, utshwala benyoni (isiZulu); mabele-mabutsoa-pele, molutoane (Sesotho).

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Picture: Lantana rugosa


DescriptionLatana rugosa is a hardy, evergreen, much-branched, aromatic shrub, with rough, square-shaped stems and wrinkled leaves. This woody perennial, grows up to 2 m high. The plant is a fast grower and can survive in various extreme conditions.

Leaves are opposite, ovate to lanceolate, upper surface highly fissured giving the plant a characteristic venation.

Flowers are small, dense clusters of pink to purple inflorescence borne on short peduncles in the leaf axils, giving rise to small, green, rounded fruits that turn purple at maturity.

Flowering time: September to May.

Origin: Botswana, Namibia, South Africa and Swaziland.

Ecology: The plant produces small, bright purplish berries which are eaten by both birds and monkeys, and people, however, its toxicity remains debated. The plant also produces bright pink flowers which attract insects for pollination and the insects are thus food for the birds.

Plants uses: In South Africa, various indigenous cultures prepare a paste using either leaves or fruits of Lantana rugosa for the treatment of sore eyes.  L. rugosa is also used in the Zulu folklore for treatment of festering sores.

Propagation: From seeds and cuttings.


Germishuizen, G. & Meyer, N.L. (eds) 2003. Plants of southern Africa: an annotated checklist. Strelitzia 14. National Botanical Institute, Pretoria.

Hutchings, A., Scott, A.H., Lewis, G. & Cunningham, A.B. 1996. Zulu medicinal plants: an inventory. University of Natal Press, Pietermaritzburg.

Mabogo, D.E.N. 1990. The ethnobotany of the Vhavenda. M.Sc. Thesis, University of Pretoria, Pretoria.

Mabona, U. & Van Vuuren, S.F. 2013. Southern African medicinal plants used to treat skin diseases. South African Journal of Botany 87: 175–193.