A little deviation from the weekly portulaca, dear readers. This week's petite beauty is the Lantana Camara. Native to tropical America and Africa, lantana is a genus of about 150 flowering plants. Pretty isnt it? It comes in many colors. And the flowers change color as the bunch grows - the one i've shown here goes from being yellow to yellow orange to completely orange. After a while the flowers fall off and the cycle restarts. Each inflorescence is no bigger than about 3 inches in diameter so you can well imagine how tiny the flowers are.
The next time you see one of these, make a small tear in one of the leaves and smell it. It has a really weird smell, some seem to like it while others find it rather foul!
I read a really interesting article in the paper about the lantana. Apparently it is an invasive species that has covered much area in the forests of tamilnadu. Several nonprofit organizations have recently trained local communities on the art of making furniture using the lantana stem. This is really neat -- it gives the people a livelihood and clears the forests of the creeping lantana!