A weed with multiple utility: Lantana camara
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- Patel, S. Rev Environ Sci Biotechnol (2011) 10: 341. doi:10.1007/s11157-011-9254-7
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L. camara is a terrible weed, exerting huge detrimental effect on biodiversity. Its leaves and flowers contain toxins, lantadene A and B, so unfit for herbivory by ruminants. This weed stunts the growth of neighbouring plants owing to the allelopathic effect of its root leachate. The seeds tide over adverse period and germinate when favourable conditions prevail. Further, pruning makes the thicket denser. Almost all removal strategies of this weed have been unsuccessful so far. So, management of this weed by utilization is required. Recent studies have reported that L. camara improves soil quality by enriching it with nitrogen, exhibits termiticidal effect, acts as lignocellulosic substrate for cultivation of edible mushrooms, acts as potential insecticide and fumigant for grains storage against weevils, antifungal agent, herbicide against water hyacinths. L. camara has bioactive ingredients exhibiting anticancer, antiulcerogenic, hypolipidemic, larvicidal and anti-inflammatory activity. L. camara fibre has been reported to be suitable candidate as reinforcement in biomaterials. Also, this plant extract is effective in bovine dermatophilosis therapy. L. camara has also immense industrial importance, as a source of oleanolic acid and carboxymethylcellulose. L. camara biomass can be implicated as a substrate for bioethanol and biogas production. This invasive weed can also serve as livelihood options, as the woody twigs can be utilized for aesthetic and durable furniture making apart from the use as firewood. The latest published papers on the novel uses of L. camara have been reviewed, with the objective of providing a thrust to weed management by utilization.