This wild flower should not be confused with Lantana camara, which is a dangerous invader plant, and has been declared a Category 1 invader weed in South Africa.
The Lantana rugosa is harmless, much smaller, with few small light purple flowers and light purple fruits. It has a wide distribution in our region, but prefers shady areas and rocky ridges on the slopes of the Magaliesberg. Look for an untidy multi-branched shrub that has rough hairs covering the branches and leaves.
The fruits are clusters of small berries, fleshy and purple in colour. It will grow to a height of about 1 metre.
The summer flowering brings small mauve flowers. It is known as Bird's Brandy because the berries are a favourite with birds. This herb is aromatic - sniff the leaves and you will be reminded of verbena.
Please visit the Operation Wildflower web site for further information.
Vincent Carruthers. 2000. The Magaliesberg
Braam van Wyk and Sasa Malan. 1998. Field Guide to the Wild Flowers of the Highveld
Many thanks to Sue Oxborrow for preparing the most interesting information.