Eternal Beauty of Nature

Posts tagged “Leaves

Textured Pink flower – Ajaytao

Textured Pink flower - Ajaytao

Textured Pink flower – Ajaytao

Flowers are the
music of the ground
From earth’s lips
spoken without sound

Edwin Curran


Cordia sebestena – Scarlet Cordia – Ajaytao

Cordia sebestena - Scarlet Cordia - Ajaytao

Cordia sebestena – Scarlet Cordia – Ajaytao

foxglove’s trumpet shape
flowers sweet nectar attracts…
slows hummers’ heartbeat

Sara Kendrick


Pink glowing flower – Ajaytao

Pink glowing flower - Ajaytao

Pink glowing flower – Ajaytao

Warm breezes blowing

Sun shining on the soil

Petals are glowing

Esmah


Sage Rose – Ajaytao

Sage Rose - Ajaytao

Sage Rose – Ajaytao

Flowers grow nearby
Awaits every sunrise
Fall asleep at night….

Ferdinand Panerio


Tropical Leaves – 5 – Ajaytao

Tropical Leaves - 5 - Ajaytao

Tropical Leaves – 5 – Ajaytao

I pause –
the heavy air on
wet leaves

Ken Wagner


Orange flower – Ajaytao

Orange flower - Ajaytao

Orange flower – Ajaytao

orange day lilies
curb the hazy roadside—
fawns snack

Debbie Guzzi


Lush growth – Ajaytao

Lush growth - Ajaytao

Lush growth – Ajaytao

Botanic beauty,

An array of lush nature;

Boundless in splendor

Raul Moreno


Tropical leaves – 4 – Ajaytao

Tropical leaves - 4 - Ajaytao

Tropical leaves – 4 – Ajaytao

Piles on the ground;
too many leaves have fallen.
They rustle, then rot

Ken Wagner


Tiny white flowers – Ajaytao

Tiny white flowers - Ajaytao

Tiny white flowers – Ajaytao

Open in field of green

Bright white flowers attract bugs

New generation

Angelo52


Yellow Alder – Ajaytao

Yellow Alder - Ajaytao

Yellow Alder – Ajaytao

Silky gold milkweed
Growth flourishes in bright sun
Yellow flowers open

Angelo52

 


Tiny flower – Ajaytao

Tiny flower - Ajaytao

Tiny flower – Ajaytao

The flower is the stem’s cry
of beauty to the universe

Vassilis Comporozos


African tulip flower – Ajaytao

African tulip flower - Ajaytao

African tulip flower – Ajaytao

Spring

Life awakening
Flower opens in the sun
A world is reborn

Fred Cleveland


Yellow Pink Rose – Ajaytao

Yellow Pink Rose - Ajaytao

Yellow Pink Rose – Ajaytao

Sunlight

Sparkling rays
blow the flower’s bloom
a sunlight

Adeleke Adeite


Tropical leaves – 3 – Ajaytao

Tropical leaves - 3 - Ajaytao

Tropical leaves – 3 – Ajaytao

a leaf in the wind

a leaf in the wind
driven by forces unseen
just as we all are

Jim David


Red Sister – Cordyline – Ajaytao

Red Sister - Cordyline - Ajaytao

Red Sister – Cordyline – Ajaytao

at the roadside
solitary flowering weed
vision of loveliness

leaf falling from the tree
does its last dance in the air
then settles to the ground

in the crack in the concrete
the grass pushes upwards
unstoppable life force

John Beharry


A Yellow Leaf – Ajaytao

A Yellow Leaf - Ajaytao

A Yellow Leaf – Ajaytao

Down, down
Yellow and brown
The leaves are falling
Over the town

Eleanor Farjean


Coleus – Ajaytao

Coleus - Ajaytao

Coleus – Ajaytao

the last leaf
with a gust of wind decides
it’s time to go– gone

Robert Henry Poulin


Beauty in clusters – Ajaytao

Beauty in clusters - Ajaytao

Beauty in clusters – Ajaytao

We, the rustling leaves,
have a voice that answers the storms,
but who are you so silent?
I am a mere flower.”

Rabindranath Tagore


Abelmoschus esculentus – Okra – Ajaytao

 

Abelmoschus esculentus - Okra - Ajaytao

Abelmoschus esculentus – Okra – Ajaytao

Common name: Ladies Finger, Okra

Vernacular names: Common okra, okra, okro, lady’s finger (En), Gombo commun, gombo, gumbo (Fr), Quiabeiro (Po), Mbamia, mbinda (Sw), China: qiu kui, Middle East (in Arabic, Farsi, Hebrew, and Turkish), it is called bamia or bamyeh, Bosnia and Herzegovina: bamija, Dominican Republic: molondron, Sinhalese : Bandakka, Spanish : Gombo, Ají turco, Thai : Krachiap, Ton krachiap, Polish : Czyli okra, Ketmia jadalna, Romanian: Bame.

Bhindi भिन्डी (Hindi), Belendri (Manipuri), Vendaikkaay (Tamil), Sanskrit : Bhenda, Darvika, Gandhamula, Pitali, Tindisa, Tindisha.

Botanical name: Abelmoschus esculentus (L.) Moench

Family: Malvaceae (mallow Family)
Genus: Abelmoschus
Species: A. esculentus

Synonyms: Hibiscus esculentus L. (1753).

A member of the hibiscus family, okra is an annual that gets 3-8′ tall (depending on the cultivar) and bears yellow flowers that give rise to the familiar okra pods so valued in Cajun gumbos. It is valued for its edible green seed pods The plant is a rather coarse annual with large lobed, slightly spiny leaves and a thick, semiwoody stem with few branches and bears yellow flowers that give rise to the familiar okra pods so common in India as a fried vegetable.

The genus Abelmoschus originated in South-East Asia. Abelmoschus esculentus, however, is a cultigen of uncertain origin. It is widespread in tropical, subtropical and warm temperate regions, but is particularly popular in West Africa, India, the Philippines, Thailand and Brazil. Abelmoschus esculentus has been reported from the whole of tropical Africa, whereas West African okra (Abelmoschus caillei (A.Chev.) Stevels) is restricted to the humid and perhumid climates of Africa.

Okra’s attractive blossoms are ivory or yellow in color, funnel-shaped and resemble hibiscus flowers. The throat of the flower is maroon. The plant is a rather coarse annual with large lobed, slightly spiny leaves and a thick, semi woody stem with few branches. The flowers are showy: hibiscus-like with pale yellow or cream colored petals and purplish hearts.

Okra blooms and produces over an extended season, usually until first frost. Cornucopia II lists 25 varieties of okra available from American seedsmen. They come in green, pale lime, purple and red pod colors. Some are adapted especially for northern climates, even performing well in southern Canada. Some are dwarf varieties, suited for small gardens; some are spineless and some are velvety until cooked. The standard American okra is ‘Clemson Spineless”, accounting for some 90% of commercial production, and serving the home gardener well for many decades.

Abelmoschus esculentus - Okra - Ajaytao

Abelmoschus esculentus – Okra – Ajaytao

Stout, annual, erect herb up to 4 m tall, more or less strongly branched; stem terete, with scattered, stiff hairs, glabrescent, often red-blotched; branches erect to curved downwards. Leaves arranged spirally, simple, variable in shape and size; stipules filiform, up to 2 cm long, often split to the base, covered with stiff hairs; petiole up to 50 cm long, often red-tinged, with a line of soft, simple hairs on the upper side, otherwise with scattered, stiff hairs and glabrescent; blade transversally elliptical to orbicular in outline, up to 50 cm broad, length of midrib up to 35 cm, mostly 3-, 5- or 7-palmatilobed to palmatipartite, cordate at base, 5–9-veined, segments triangular, ovate, elliptical, obovate, oblong, spatulate or lanceolate, acuminate, serrate to crenate, sometimes entire or angular, veins on both sides with scattered, stiff hairs, glabrescent. Flowers axillary, solitary or racemose by reduction or abortion of the upper leaves; pedicel up to 3 cm long in flower, up to 7 cm in fruit, with scattered, stiff hairs, glabrescent; epicalyx segments 7–15, free, linear to lanceolate, 5–25 mm × 0.5–3 mm, acute to acuminate, caducous at flowering or soon after, covered with stiff hairs; calyx spathaceous, 2–6 cm long, 5-toothed apically, usually splitting on one side at the expansion of the corolla, adnate to and caducous with the corolla and staminal column, strigose to sericeous; petals 5, free, obovate to orbicular, 3–7 cm long, base fleshy, apex obtuse to retuse, glabrous, yellow, often turning pink after anthesis, with a dark purple centre; stamens united into a staminal column up to 2.5 cm long, white, glabrous; ovary superior, tomentose, often with some stiff hairs on the costae as well, 5–10 style arms 3–5 mm long, stigmas dark purple, with simple hairs. Fruit an erect, cylindrical to pyramidal capsule 5–25 cm × 1–5 cm, acuminate, terete to 5–10-angled, concave between the costae, gradually losing its original indumentum, when young varying in colour from purple-red and reddish-green to dark green, and from pale green to yellow, completely or partially loculicidal or not opening at all, up to 100-seeded. Seeds globose to ovoid, 3–6 mm in diameter, with minute warts in concentric rows, rarely with long red hairs on the seed coat. Seedling with epigeal germination.

Abelmoschus esculentus (usually 2n = 130) is probably an amphidiploid (allotetraploid), derived from Abelmoschus tuberculatus Pal & H.B.Singh (2n = 58), a wild species from India, and a species with 2n = 72 chromosomes (possibly Abelmoschus ficulneus (L.) Wight & Arn. ex Wight).

Another edible okra species, Abelmoschus caillei (A.Chev.) Stevels, occurs in the humid parts of West and Central Africa. There are strong indications that also Abelmoschus caillei is an amphidiploid with Abelmoschus esculentus being one of the parental species.

There are no apparent differences in use between the common and West African okra, which is why they are often lumped together. Morphologically Abelmoschus caillei differs in several respects from Abelmoschus esculentus, but the epicalyx offers the best discriminating characteristic: the width of the epicalyx segments is 0.5–3 mm in Abelmoschus esculentus and 4–13 mm in Abelmoschus caillei. The two okra species can be quite reliably (but not with absolute certainty) recognized on the basis of fruit form. Fruits of Abelmoschus esculentus are cylindrical to pyramidal, whereas fruits of Abelmoschus caillei are ovoid. Literature references on common okra have to be interpreted with care because they may include information related to Abelmoschus caillei.

Culture

Light: Full sun for best production.

Moisture: Keep fast growing okra well watered.

Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils and can grow in very alkaline soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers moist soil.

Hardiness: USDA Zones 5 – 11. Okra is a hot weather annual. Don’t even think of planting your okra seeds until summer has arrived and the nights stay above 55 F. Best growth occurs when soil temperatures are above 65 F. From seedling to first harvest takes only about 60 days, however. If your warm weather growing season is shorter than that, start the plants indoors, setting out after all danger of frost has passed, and maybe even use a cold frame on the cooler nights.

Propagation: You can speed up germination if you soak okra seeds in water for 24 hours before planting. Sow seeds about a half inch deep in one long row or in rows 3′ apart, and thin to 12 or 18″ between plants.

There are many cultivars of common okra. Some of the better known are ‘Clemson Spineless’, ‘Indiana’, ‘Emerald’ (United States) and ‘Pusa Sawani’ (India), which have been in use for about 30 years.

Abelmoschus esculentus - Okra - Ajaytao

Abelmoschus esculentus – Okra – Ajaytao

Uses

Food

Okra is a popular health food due to its high fiber, vitamin C, and folate content. Okra is also known for being high in antioxidants. Okra is also a good source of calcium and potassium.

It is popular in Indian and Pakistani cuisine, where chopped pieces are stir-fried with spices, pickled, salted or added to gravy-based preparations such as bhindi ghosht and sambar. Okra is cut into small circular pieces about 1/4 inch thick and stick fried in oil with salt and hot pepper powder to make delicious curry.

In Syria, Tunisia, Egypt, Albania, Bosnia, Greece, Bulgaria, Republic of Macedonia, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, and Yemen, and other parts of the eastern Mediterranean, including Palestine, Cyprus and Israel, okra is widely used in a thick stew made with vegetables and meat.

In Malaysia okra is commonly a part of yong tau foo cuisine, typically stuffed with processed fish paste (surimi) and boiled with a selection of vegetables and tofu, and served in a soup with noodles.

In Malawi it is preferred cooked and stirred with sodium bicarbonate to make it more slimy. It is then commonly eaten with nsima (pap) made from raw maize flour or maize husks flour.

In the Philippines, okra can be found among traditional dishes like pinakbet, dinengdeng, and sinigang. Because of its mild taste and ubiquity, okra can also be cooked adobo-style, or served steamed or boiled in a salad with tomatoes, onion and bagoong.

It became a popular vegetable in Japanese cuisine toward the end of the 19th century, served with soy sauce and katsuobushi, or as tempura.

In the Caribbean islands, okra is eaten in soup. In Curaçao the soup is known as jambo which primarily is made out of the okra’s mucilage. It is often prepared with fish and funchi, a dish made out of cornmeal and boiling water. In Haiti, it is cooked with rice and maize, and also used as a sauce for meat. In Cuba, it is called quimbombó, along with a stew using okra as its primary ingredient. In Dominican Republic is eaten as if in salad and also cooked with rice.

Okra is low in calories and high in vitamins A and C and in calcium, iron and protein. Properly prepared, it is delicious and not at all mucilaginous or “slimy.” Americans rank okra as one of their least favorite vegetables. Apparently they haven’t had whole okra sautéed in olive oil, or pickled okra, or a big pot of tomatoes, onions and okra stew, not to mention a New Orleans seafood gumbo!

Young immature fruits are an important vegetable, consumed cooked or fried. In West Africa they are usually boiled in water to make slimy soups and sauces. The fruits can be conserved by drying, whole or sliced, or by pickling. Before selling, the dried product is usually ground to powder. Young leaves are commonly used as spinach. The leaves are sometimes used as cattle feed.

Other Uses

Okra mucilage is suitable for medicinal and industrial applications. It has been used as a plasma replacement or blood volume expander. Leaves are sometimes used as a basis for poultices, as an emollient, sudorific or antiscorbutic and to treat dysuria. Okra mucilage has been added as size to glaze paper and is used in confectionery. The bark fibre has been locally used for fishlines and game traps. It is suitable for spinnning into rope and for paper and cardboard manufacture. Roasted okra seeds are used in some areas as a substitute for coffee.

A fibre obtained from the stems is used as a substitute for jute. It is also used in making paper and textiles. The fibres are about 2.4mm long. When used for paper the stems are harvested in late summer or autumn after the edible seedpods have been harvested, the leaves are removed and the stems are steamed until the fibres can be stripped off. The fibres are cooked for 2 hours with lye and then put in a ball mill for 3 hours. The paper is cream coloured. A decoction of the root or of the seeds is used as a size for paper.

Abelmoschus esculentus - Okra - Ajaytao

Abelmoschus esculentus – Okra – Ajaytao

Medicinal Uses

Plants for a future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

Antispasmodic; Demulcent; Diaphoretic; Diuretic; Emollient; Stimulant; Vulnerary.

Antioxidant – In a study looking at the diet of South Asian migrants in Bradford, U.K., the antioxidant properties identified in Abelmoschus esculentus were found to be strong candidates in the treatment of disorders of the central nervous system in preference to synthetic antioxidants which exhibit toxicity. In cases of dysentery, constipation, diarrhea, irritable bowels syndrome, and Crohn’s disease.

Anti-inflammatory – In Ayurvedic medicine, the anti-inflammatory properties in the mucilage is effective in the treatment of gastro-intestinal disorders, especially pertaining to the intestinal wall.

Antispasmodic – This quality in the seeds is beneficial to the gastro-intestinal tract

Cordial – This quality in the seeds acts as a tonic and a stimulant to the heart, which is supported by linoleic acid, an important polyunsaturated fatty acids that plays a role in the prevention heart vascular diseases.

Demulcent – This quality of the roots is very active due to the mucilage, which can be used to replace plasma. It is a quality that is also present in the leaves, the skin, and especially in the young pods.

Diuretic – The young pods act as a diuretic and emollient. Releases accumulation of water that leads to swelling/water retention, especially a decoction of the roots

Sudorific – An infusion of the roasted seeds has sudorific properties increasing perspiration to expel toxins and excess water.

Emollient: Soothes and softens the skin, and all mucous membranes.

Decoction of roots and leaves as a tea or for washing.
Decoction of young fruit useful for catarrh, urinary problems.
Syrup from mucilaginous fruit used for sore throat.
Poultice of roots and leaves for wound healing.
Young pods for fevers, difficult urination and diarrhea.
Decoction of roots for headaches, varicose veins, arthritis, fevers.
Decoctions of leaves for abdominal pain.
Leaves also useful as emollient poultice.
Seeds used a coffee substitute. Paste of seeds, mixed with milk, used for pruritic skin lesions.

Leaves and immature fruit have long been used in the East in poultices and applied to relieve pain, moisturise skin, induce sweating, prevent scurvy and treat urinary disorders. In Congo-Brazzaville, a leaf decoction is given for heart pains and to promote delivery during childbirth. Okra root has been used to treat syphilis in Malaya.

The roots are very rich in mucilage, having a strongly demulcent action. They are said by some to be better than marsh mallow (Althaea officinalis). Okra mucilage has been used as a plasma replacement and blood volume expander. To obtain the mucilage, slices of immature pods are placed in water, which is then boiled. The mucilage is an acidic polysaccharide composed of galacturonic acid, rhamnose and glucose and tends to break down when overheated.

Warning

The hairs on the seed pods can be an irritant to some people and gloves should be worn when harvesting. These hairs can be easily removed by washing.

Many people get an itchy (but short-lived) reaction from the little spines on the leaves and stems of okra, and should therefore be careful when working in the okra patch. However, even highly sensitive individuals do not get the reaction from eating okra.

Ajaytao Photography


Shades of green – Ajaytao

Shades of green - Ajaytao

Shades of green – Ajaytao

Shades of Green

Far past my spring green age
I sit, all autumn touched with frost,
in introspective summer sun
and contemplate the lines and limits
of this limp and languorous life.

Above and beyond, the marbled sky,
creamy clouds skilfully stitched by
sedulous swifts into the clear cerulean blue,
to patch and paste a quilted backdrop
for my bordering bank of trees.

Such trees! Such leaves!
Such showers, shoots and sprays
and clamouring cascades
in myriad shades of green:

Here at the very twig tip
the freshest of spring green
brings to my musings small fingers
shyly seeking in the spring meadows
for the timorous hand-holds of new sweethearts
and soft lips barely brushed – first steps
in a dewy-eyed dance of love.

Further back, a deeper green,
so like the fiddle-head ferns on mountain fells
and bracken fronds bent and broken
flat for comfort in passion’s pas de deux
or deeper still to bring to mind
the glass of quarry pools and strings of weed
a-cling to strands of slick and sodden hair.

Emerald leaves spark a memory of firefly nights
tucked tight together with Terpsichore:
a passionate prelude to a closer dance.
Higher, in the conifers, blue-green needles
dusted with a hazy hint of smoke
take me to the sea and secret sandy dunes
and languid cherished shoreline loves

So many greens, from mint to sage,
and clever besides to pick each time the perfect
foil for blood berries and pastel blooms
and even in the passing time, the fall,
the beauty shifts from gold to flame –
though sad to say these painted shrouds
will duly die discarded on the ground

And so I sit replete, content
with visions I could not invent:
to soothe my soul and please my eye
these shades of green will ever satisfy.

Michael Graeme Coxe


Tropical leaves – 2 – Ajaytao

Tropical leaves - 2 - Ajaytao

Tropical leaves – 2 – Ajaytao


Young baby leaves – Ajaytao

Young baby leaves - Ajaytao

Young baby leaves – Ajaytao

I pause –
the heavy air on
wet leaves

Ken Wagner


In the shade – Ajaytao

In the shade - Ajaytao

In the shade – Ajaytao

Shade

by the shadow
of the mountain
i am taking
a shade

on the shade
of a tree
i take my
shade

on the shade
of my body
i am taking
my shade

on the shade
of my soul
the mountain
the tree and
my body
also take
their shade

Ric S. Bastasa


Tropical leaves – 1 – Ajaytao

Tropical leaves - 1 - Ajaytao

Tropical leaves – 1 – Ajaytao

The air is sweet and with the scent of flowers
Music drifts gently from the wind in the palm
Breathing is easy and I feel utterly at peace
Somehow in this magic place I find I am calm..

The surf is soothing as it repeats its refrain
Life and its daily challenges seem so far away
But my dream this night is to soon ended
I wake to the dawning of the needs of today..

Barbara Gorelick


Lantana camara – Lantana – Ajaytao

 

Lantana camara - Lantana - Ajaytao

Lantana camara – Lantana – Ajaytao

Common name: Lantana, Spanish flag: Irene, Christine, Dallas Red, Malaysia: Big Sage, Caribbean: Wild sage, Red sage, White sage, South Africa: Tickberry,

Hindi: Raimuniya राईमुनिया • Marathi: Tantani तणतणी, Ghaneri घाणेरी • Manipuri: সম্বল লৈ Samballei, Nongballei, থীরৈ Thirei • Tamil: உன்னிச்செடி Unnichedi • Kannada: Kakke, Natahu • Telugu: Pulikampa • Sanskrit: Vanacchedi

Botanical name: Lantana camara var. aculeata

Family: Verbenaceae (Verbena family)
Genus: Lantana

Lantana species are pubescent or glabrous perennial herbs and scandent or erect shrubs. Lantana is a genus of about 150 species of perennial flowering plants in the verbena family, Verbenaceae. The genus includes both herbaceous plants and shrubs growing to 0.5–2 m (1.6–6.6 ft) tall. Their common names are shrub verbenas or lantanas.

The generic name originated in Late Latin, where it refers to the unrelated Viburnum lantana.

Lantana camara - Lantana - Ajaytao

Lantana camara – Lantana – Ajaytao

Flowers sessile, zygomorphic, Calyx copular, subentire, about 4 x 2 mm across, membranous, pubescent, bracts oblong or ovate, Corolla hypocrateriform, 5 lobed, 2 lipped, orange, pinkish red, purple, scarlet red, lower and midlobes subrotund, lateral lobes obtuse, Corolla hypocrateriform, 5 lobed, yellow, red, purple, white or blue. Stamens 4, didynamous, anthers ovoid. Ovary 2-loculed, 1 ovule in each locule, Style shorter than corolla tube, Corolla tube narrow curved, pubescent. Stamens 4, didynamous, filaments about 1 mm long, anthers yellowish, ovoid about 0.5 mm long, Ovary conical about 1 mm long, style stout about 3 mm long, stigma obliquely subcapitate. Calyx glabrous, membranous, truncate. Lantana’s aromatic flower clusters (called umbels) are a mix of red, orange, yellow, or blue and white florets. Other colors exist as new varieties are being selected. The flowers typically change color as they mature, resulting in inflorescences that are two- or three-colored. Due to extensive selective breeding throughout the 17th and 18th Century for use as an ornamental plant there are now many different forms of L. camara present throughout the world.

Flowers come in many different colours including red, yellow, white, pink and orange which differ depending on location, age and maturity. After pollination occurs the colour of the flowers change (typically from yellow to red/pink/orange), this is believed to be a signal to pollinators that the pre-change colour contains a reward as well as being sexually viable, thus increasing pollination efficiency.

Leaves opposite, simple, lanceolate-ovate, cordate or ovate-oblong, 3-9 x 1.5-6 cm across, base attenuate, cuneate or rounded, margin serrate or crenate, apex acuminate, coarse chartaceous and dark green on the dorsal side, densely resinous-punctate and sparsely pubescent on veins beneath, lateral veins 4-6 on either side of the midrib, Petiole about 0.5-3.5 cm long with inconspicuous prickles, exstipulate. Inflorescence cylindric spike or subumbellate, axillary 1 x 1-1.5 cm, Peduncle slender 3-7 cm long with inconspicuous prickles, bracts oblong or lanceolate, ciliate along the margins, pubescent outside Leaves decussate-opposite or ternate, simple, petiolate, margin dentate or serrate. Inflorescence cylindric spike or head, usually axillary, pedunculate, bracts conspicuous. The leaves are egg-shaped, simple, arranged oppositely on the stem and have a strong odour when crushed. The leaves are 2-5 in long by 1-2 in wide with rounded tooth edges and a textured surface. Stems and leaves are covered with rough hairs and emit an unpleasant aroma when crushed. Branches 4 angular.

The fruit of L. camara is berry-like and turns a deep purple colour when mature. Both vegetative (asexual) and seed reproduction occur. Up to 12,000 fruits can be produced by each plant which are then eaten by birds and other animals which can spread the seeds over large distances, facilitating the spread of L. camara. Fruit drupaceous with 2 seeded pyrenes.

Lantana camara - Lantana - Ajaytao

Lantana camara – Lantana – Ajaytao

Wild lantanas” are plants of the unrelated genus Abronia, usually called “sand-verbenas“.

Lantana species flowers are bisexual, i.e., with functional male (androecium) and female (gynoecium), including stamens, carpels and ovary. Pollination is entomophilous i.e., by insects. Flowering/Fruiting: Almost throughout the year.

They are native to tropical regions of the Americas and Africa but exist as an introduced species in numerous areas, especially in the Australian-Pacific region. Some species are invasive, and are considered to be noxious weeds, such as in South Asia, Southern Africa and Australia. In the United States, lantanas are naturalized in the southeast, especially coastal regions of the Carolinas, Georgia, Florida, and the Gulf Coast. The native range of L. camara is Central and South America, however it has become naturalised in around 60 tropical and sub-tropical countries worldwide. It is found frequently in East and South Africa where it occurs at altitudes below 2000m and often invades previously disturbed areas such as logged forests and areas cleared for agriculture.

As well as Africa, it has also colonised areas of Southern Europe such as Spain and Portugal, the Middle East, India, Tropical Asia, Australia, New Zealand, USA as well as many Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Ocean Islands.It has also become a significant weed in Sri Lanka after escaping from the Royal Botanic gardens of Sri Lanka in 1926.

It was introduced into the Philippines from Hawaii as part of an exchange program between the United States and the Philippines, however it managed to escape and has become naturalised in the islands.

The extent of L. camara distribution is still increasing, shown by the fact that it has invaded many islands on which it was not present in 1974 (including Galapagos Islands, Saipan and the Solomon Islands). There is also evidence that L. camara is still increasing its range in areas where it has been established for many years such as East Africa, Australia and New Zealand. The ability of L. camara to rapidly colonise areas of land which have been disturbed has allowed it to proliferate in countries where activities such as logging, clearance for agriculture and forest fires are common. Whereas in countries with large areas of intact primary forest, the distribution of L. camara has been limited.

Lantana Camara seeds - Ajaytao

Lantana Camara seeds – Ajaytao

Biological control of introduced lantanas has been attempted, without robust success. In Australia, about 30 insects have been introduced in an attempt to control the spread of lantanas, and this has caused problems of its own. The Lantana Bug (Aconophora compressa) for example is a polyphagous species introduced in 1995 that feeds on dozens of plants, and not only has it failed to have a noticeable impact on the lantana population, it has even become a pest in horticulture, parasitizing the related fiddlewoods (Citharexylum). The small Lantana-feeding moths Epinotia lantana and Lantanophaga pusillidactyla, while not becoming pests, have nonetheless failed to stem the spread of the invasive weed, as has the Lantana Scrub-hairstreak butterfly (Strymon bazochii) which was introduced to control lantanas on the Hawaiian Islands.

Other Lepidoptera whose caterpillars feed on Lantana species include the Common Splendid Ghost Moth (Aenetus ligniveren), Aenetus scotti, Endoclita malabaricus, Hypercompe orsa and the Setaceous Hebrew Character (Xestia c-nigrum). The Swamp Wallaby (Wallabia bicolor) is one of the few mammals that eat Lantana leaves without apparent ill effect.

As a positive aspect, lantanas are useful as honey plants, and Spanish Flag (L. camara), L. lilacina and L. trifolia are sometimes planted for this purpose, or in butterfly gardening. Butterflies which are attracted to lantana flowers are most notably Papilioninae (swallowtail and birdwing butterflies). Hesperiidae (skippers) and certain brush-footed butterflies (namely Danainae and Heliconiinae), as well as some Pieridae (e.g. Cloudless Sulphur, Phoebis sennae) and Lycaenidae (e.g. the aforementioned Lantana Scrub-hairstreak), also like to visit the plants’ flowers. Consequently, as total eradication of Lantana seems often impossible, it may in many cases be better to simply remove plants with immature (green) fruit to prevent them from spreading.

Some weaverbirds, e.g. the Black-throated Weaver (Ploceus benghalensis) and the Streaked Weaver (P. manyar), highly value Lantana flowers for decorating their nests. An ability to procure spectacular and innovative decorations appears to be desired by females, and consequently is an indicator of the males’ fitness.

Uses: L. camara stalks have been used in the construction of furniture such as chairs and tables, however, the main uses have historically been medicinal and ornamental.

Lantana camara - Lantana - Ajaytao

Lantana camara – Lantana – Ajaytao

L. camara also attracts butterflies and birds and so is frequently used in Florida’s butterfly gardens.

Medicinal uses

Studies conducted in India have found that Lantana leaves can display antimicrobial, fungicidal and insecticidal properties. L. camara has also been used in traditional herbal medicines for treating a variety of ailments, including cancer, skin itches, leprosey, rabies, chicken pox, measles, asthma and ulcers.

There are also some scientific studies which have shown beneficial effects of L .camara, such as one by R. Satish which found that an extract from the plant reduced ulcer development in rats. Extracts from the plant have also been used to treat respiratory infections in Brazil.

Current advancement in drug discovery technology and search for novel chemical diversity have intensified the efforts for exploring lead from “Ayurveda” the traditional system of medicine in India. Lantana camara, Family: Verbenaceae has been important coniferous plant in ayurvedic and indigenous medicinal systems. The Clinical trials and animal research support the use of Lantana camara for anti-spasmodic, carminative, anti-tumour, anti-inflammatory, anti-malarial, anti-ulcer genic, treatment of emotional stress and trauma, anti-microbial, insecticidal, fungicidal, asthma. Major biochemical constituents of Lantana camara were identified as alkaloids/flavonoids, saponins/tannins, germacrene-A, B and D, triterpenes like lantadenes-A, B, C, D, valencene (principle constituent) and γ-gurjunene, verbascoside, martynoside.This paper includes the evidence-basedoverview of pharmacological and phytochemical properties of the aerial parts of Lantana camara.

Lantana camara - Lantana - Ajaytao

Lantana camara – Lantana – Ajaytao

Warning

The spread of lantana is aided by the characteristic of their leaves, which are somewhat poisonous to most animals, while their fruit is a delicacy for many birds which distribute the seeds. Birds like the Yellow-fronted White-eye of Vanuatu, the Superb Fairy-wren in Australia, the Scaly-breasted Munia, or the Mauritius Bulbul in the Mascarenes thus unwittingly contribute to the degradation of their home ecosystem.

Lantana species, especially L. camara, contain pentacyclic triterpenoids that cause hepatotoxicity and photosensitivity when ingested by grazing animals such as sheep, goats, bovines, and horses. This has led to widespread livestock loss in the United States, South Africa, India, Mexico, and Australia.

Although lantanas are generally hardy and, being somewhat toxic, are usually rejected by herbivores, they may still become infested with pests.

The edibility of Lantana berries is contested. Some experts claim Lantana berries are edible when ripe though like many fruit are mildly poisonous if eaten while still green. Other experts claim that experimental research indicates that both unripe and ripe Lantana berries are potentially lethal, despite claims by others that ripe berries are not poisonous.

Extracts of Lantana camara may be used for protection of cabbage against the aphid Lipaphis erysimi.

L. camara is known to be toxic to livestock such as cattle, sheep, horses, dogs and goats. The active substances causing toxicity in grazing animals is pentacyclic triterpenoids which results in liver damage and photosensitivy. L. camara also excretes chemicals (allelopathy) which reduce the growth of surrounding plants by inhibiting germination and root elongation.

The toxicity of L. camara to humans is undetermined, with several studies suggesting that ingesting berries can be toxic to humans, such as a study by O P Sharma which states “Green unripe fruits of the plant are toxic to humans”. However other studies have found evidence which suggests that ingesion of L. camara fruit poses no risk to humans and are infact edible when ripe.

Ajaytao Photography