Pacific Island Ecosystems at Risk (PIER)

  [   PIER species lists  ]   [   PIER home  ]

Pithecellobium unguis-cati
(L.) Benth., Fabaceae
Click on an image for links to BIGGER PICTURES


Present on Pacific Islands?  no

Primarily a threat at high elevations?  no

Other Latin names:  Mimosa unguis-cati L.; Pithecellobium pulchellum Pittier; Zygia unguis-cati (L.) Sudw.

Common name(s): [more details]

English: blackbead, bread-and-cheese, cat's claw, catclaw blackbead

French: ongles de chat

Spanish: arranca pellejo

Habit:  tree

Description:  "The plant usually has multiple stems arising at or below ground level.  The stems and branches are gray and nearly smooth with lenticels and rings at the nodes.  The paired spines are persistent.  Bread-and-cheese produces a taproot and abundant lateral and fine roots.  Alternate hairless leaves have petioles 2 to 5 cm long and leaf blades 2 to 6 cm long.  There are four obliquely obovate or oblong leaflets per leaf.  The greenish-yellow, yellow, or pink flowers form terminal or axillary racemes or panicles in heads.  The legume, 5 to 10 cm long, is coiled or curved and splits open to reveal 4- to 6-mm shiny, black seeds surrounded by white to red fleshy arils.  Bread-and-cheese is easily confused with Pithecelobium dulce.  The latter is a tree with somewhat smaller leaves, coarser twigs, larger fruits, and less pronounced rings at the nodes" (Wildland shrubs of the United States and its territories).

Habitat/ecology:  In Puerto Rico, "from near sea level to about 450 m in elevation on soils derived from both igneous and sedimentary rocks.  The species prefers well-drained soils, but all soil textures appear to be tolerated.  With few exceptions, it grows in areas receiving less than 1000 mm of annual precipitation.  Because of reduced competition from trees, the species tends to grow on sand dunes, coastal strands and keys, and on shallow rocky soils, sometimes forming thickets (West and Arnold, 1952).  Bread-and-cheese appears to tolerate salt spray and salty groundwater" (Wildland shrubs of the United States and its territories).

Propagation:  Seed.  The shrubs resprout readily after cutting or fire   (Wildland shrubs of the United States and its territories).

Native range:  Mexico, Central America, northern South America (GRIN). From Florida through the Antilles, Trinidad and Tobago, Bonaire, Curacao, Aruba, Guyana and Venezuela (Wildland shrubs of the United States and its territories).

Presence:

Pacific Rim
Country/Terr./St. &
Island group
Location Cited status &
Cited as invasive &
Cited as cultivated &
Cited as aboriginal introduction?
Reference &
Comments
Colombia
Colombia
Colombia (Republic of) native
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
Costa Rica
Costa Rica
Costa Rica (Republic of) native
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
El Salvador
El Salvador
El Salvador (Republic of) native
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
Guatemala
Guatemala
Guatemala (Republic of) native
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
Honduras
Honduras
Honduras (Republic of) native
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
Indonesia
Indonesia
Indonesia (Republic of) introduced
ILDIS Co-ordinating Centre (2013)
Mexico
Mexico
Mexico (United Mexican States) native
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
Nicaragua
Nicaragua
Nicaragua (Republic of) native
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
Panama
Panama
Panama (Republic of) native
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
Indian Ocean
Country/Terr./St. &
Island group
Location Cited status &
Cited as invasive &
Cited as cultivated &
Cited as aboriginal introduction?
Reference &
Comments
British Indian Ocean Territory
Chagos Archipelago
Diego Garcia Island introduced
cultivated
Topp, J. M. W. (1988) (p. 6)
British Indian Ocean Territory
Chagos Archipelago
Diego Garcia Island introduced
invasive
cultivated
Rivers, Julie (2004) (pp. 4, 7)
La Réunion (France)
La Réunion Island
La Réunion Island introduced
ILDIS Co-ordinating Centre (2013)
Mauritius
Mautitius Islands (Mauritius and Rodrigues)
Mauritius Island introduced
ILDIS Co-ordinating Centre (2013)
Mauritius
Mautitius Islands (Mauritius and Rodrigues)
Rodrigues Island introduced
ILDIS Co-ordinating Centre (2013)
Seychelles
Seychelles Islands
Coetivy Island   Robertson, S. A./Fosberg, F. R. (1983) (p. 150)
Voucher cited: Roberston 3143 (K)
Seychelles
Seychelles Islands
Frégate Island   Robertson, S. A./Todd, D. M. (1983) (p. 52)
Voucher cited: Todd 49
Seychelles
Seychelles Islands
Groupe d'Aldabra introduced
ILDIS Co-ordinating Centre (2013)
Seychelles
Seychelles Islands
Poivre Island   Robertson, S. A./Fosberg, F. R. (1983) (p. 171)
Seychelles
Seychelles Islands
Seychelles Islands introduced
ILDIS Co-ordinating Centre (2013)
Seychelles
Seychelles Islands
St. Joseph Island   Stoddart, D. R./Coe, M. J./Fosberg, F. R. (1979) (p. 45)
Voucher cited: Gwynne & Wood 953 (EA)
Also reported from
Country/Terr./St. &
Island group
Location Cited status &
Cited as invasive &
Cited as cultivated &
Cited as aboriginal introduction?
Reference &
Comments
United States (continental except west coast)
United States (other states)
USA (Florida) introduced
invasive
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)

Comments:  Reported to be naturalized in United States (Florida) & Bermuda (GRIN).


Need more info? Have questions? Comments? Information to contribute? Contact PIER! (pier@hear.org)

  [   PIER species lists  ]   [   PIER home  ]

This page was created on 25 NOV 2006 and was last updated on 23 AUG 2009.