Frequently (and not so frequently) Asked Questions
BRIEF: How dangerous are lantana berries?
I live in Southern California and have a lantana plant in my yard that can be reached through our fence. How dangerous are lantana berries? If a grammar school aged child ate some of them, could it do harm?
Lantana camara has many varieties, some toxic, others less so. The toxic varieties cause liver damage to livestock that eat enough of the leaves, which can lead to photosensitization - skin damage where the sun hits it. In humans, it can cause lethargy, weakness, irritation of the gut and colapse of the circulatory system. I am not sure how toxic the berries are relative to the leaves. When I lived in Africa, the local elementary school kids used to come over and eat all the berries off of a long lantana hedge we had, despite our warnings that it was probably poison. Nothing ever happened to them, as far as I know. I would need to study this much deeper before giving you a more definitive answer. Until then, I would not pull out your lantana. I would also stop anyone you saw eating the berries and suggest that there are safer snacks.