Family: Verbenaceae

A large genus of well-known shrubs, native to tropical and South Africa and tropical America, many of the species have bright, attractive flowers. Some are prickly, and most have foliage that is slightly rough.


L. camara is a dense shrub which grows to 3 m (10 ft) high. It has now been declared a noxious weed in many warmer parts of the world and so must be controlled. The characteristic, four-angled stems bear recurved prickles, the clusters of small flowers are pale cream with dark yellow centers changing to lilac, and the green fruits turn black with matu­rity. The seeds of these fruits are easily dis­tributed by birds. There are several useful and colourful dwarf, sterile cultivars of L. camara to grow instead of the species. 'these mainly grow to around 50 cm (20 in) high, and flower in white, yellow, orange, pink, red or mauve.

L. montevidensis is a hardy, trailing plant whose leaves darken in cold weather. It has long-lasting, mauvish purple flowers and is good for banks or for trailing over walls.


In frost-prone climates, grow in an intermediate greenhouse or conservatory, or use as summer bedding plants. Under glass, grow in pots of soil-based potting compost, in bright light. When bedded outdoors, the plants need a sunny position. Prune lightly in late winter for a compact habit. Propagate from semi-ripe cuttings in summer.


Zone 10, or possibly warmer parts of zone 9.

Lampranthus      Lapageria