As pretty as these flowers are, the Lantana camara (also known as Tick-berry) has long been declared a noxious weed in South Africa. The flowers are attractive to butterflies and the purple-black berries are relished by birds – the latter are responsible for dispersing the seeds far and wide.
Having spent much of my youth on a farm, I was aware that my father got rid of these plants whenever he saw them as they are particularly poisonous for cattle. It was thus with reluctance that I rid our garden of them soon after our arrival.
This plant was growing in a ditch next to the road. I have noticed a number of others blooming along the road leading towards Port Alfred and wonder who is responsible for their removal. One would imagine this would fall within the bailiwick of the Roads Department, on the other hand it is surprising that stock farmers leave them growing on the perimeters of their properties.