Pacific Island Ecosystems at Risk (PIER)

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Caesalpinia decapetala
(Roth) Alston, Fabaceae
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Present on Pacific Islands?  yes

Primarily a threat at high elevations?  no

Risk assessment results:  High risk, score: 20 (Go to the risk assessment)

Other Latin names:  Caesalpinia japonica Siebold & Zucc.; Caesalpinia septaria Roxb.; Reichardia decapetala Roth

Common name(s): [more details]

Chinese: yun shi

English: cat's claw, Mauritius thorn, Mysore thorn, thorny poinciana, wait-a-bit, wait-a-while, woody wait-a-while

French: bois sappan, liane sappan, sappan

Hawaiian: pōpoki, puakelekino

Japanese: jaketsu-ibara

Habit:  shrub

Description:  "Climbers, with copious prickles. Bark dull red. Branches, rachis of leaves, and inflorescence with recurved prickles and pubescent. Leaves 20-30 cm; pinnae 3-10 pairs, opposite, with prickles in pairs at base; stipules obliquely ovate, apex acuminate, caducous; leaflets 8-12 pairs, oblong, 1-2.5 cm x 6-12 mm, membranous, both surfaces puberulent, glabrescent when old, both ends obtuse-rounded. Racemes terminal, 15-30 cm, with abundant flowers; rachis densely prickly. Pedicels 3-4 cm, hairy, jointed at apex so flowers easily fall off. Sepals 5, oblong, puberulent. Petals reflexed at anthesis, yellow, orbicular or obovate, 1-1.2 cm, membranous, base shortly clawed. Stamens subequal to petals in length; filaments compressed at base, lanate in lower part. Ovary glabrous. Legume chestnut-brown, shiny, oblong-ligulate, 6-12 x 2.5-3 cm, fragile-leathery, glabrous, dehiscent and thickened to a narrow wing along ventral suture when ripe, apex prolonged into a sharp beak. Seeds 6-9, brown, elliptic, ca. 11 x 6 mm"  (Flora of China online).

"Robust, thorny, evergreen shrub 2-4 m high or climber up to 10 m or higher; often forming dense thickets; stems minutely golden-hairy; stem thorns ± straight to hooked, numerous, not in regular rows or confined to nodes.  Leaves:  Dark green, paler beneath, not glossy, up to 300 mm long; leaflets up to 8 mm wide.  Flowers:  Pale yellow, in elongated, erect clusters 100-400 mm long.  Fruits:  Brown, woody pods, flattened, unsegmented, smooth, sharply beaked at apex, ± 80 mm long"  (Henderson, 1995; p. 66).

Habitat/ecology:  This deciduous, sprawling, noxious shrub, with numerous spines, forms impenetrable thickets. The plant is confined to dry to mesic lowland habitats (C.W. Smith, 1985; p. 187). In Hawai‘i, "naturalized along roadsides, near abandoned house sites, and other disturbed areas, 0-250m" (Wagner et al., 1999; p. 647); "occurs in moist forests, pastures, waste lands and roadsides"  (Motooka et al., 2003).

"Forms impenetrable brambles, climbs high up trees. Closes off pastures to animals, impedes passage in forests.  A hazard to animals, which can become trapped in thickets"  (Motooka et al., 2003). In New Caledonia, "n'est plus planté mais forme localement des fourrés denses impénétrables, surtout en forêts-galeries dégradées" (MacKee, 1994; p. 72).

Propagation:  The medium-sized seeds may be dispersed by rodents and granivorous birds, but man is almost certainly the principal dispersal agent in Hawai‘i (C.W. Smith, 1985; p. 187).

Native range:  Temperate and tropical eastern Asia; widely cultivated and naturalized in tropics and subtropics (GRIN).

Presence:

Pacific
Country/Terr./St. &
Island group
Location Cited status &
Cited as invasive &
Cited as cultivated &
Cited as aboriginal introduction?
Reference &
Comments
Australia (Pacific offshore islands)
Norfolk Islands
Norfolk Island introduced
invasive
Orchard, Anthony E., ed. (1994) (p. 8)
"A native of SE Asia which has sometimes been used as a hedge plant but is now naturalised, mainly in the Melanesian Mission area". Vouchers cited: P.S. Green 1412 (A); G. Uhe 1183 (K); M. Rafferty 3 & B. Reid (CBG); R.M. Laing (CHR); 1902, J.H. Maiden & J.L. Boorman (NSW)
Fiji
Fiji Islands
Viti Levu Island introduced
cultivated
Smith, Albert C. (1985) (p. 95)
Voucher cited: Tothill 124
French Polynesia
Society Islands
Tahiti Island introduced
invasive
Florence, J./Chevillotte, H./Ollier, C./Meyer, J.-Y. (2013)
Adventice
State of Hawaii
Hawaiian Islands
Hawai‘i (Big) Island introduced
invasive
Wagner, Warren L./Herbst, Derral R./Sohmer, S. H. (1999) (p. 647)
State of Hawaii
Hawaiian Islands
Kaua‘i Island introduced
invasive
Wagner, Warren L./Herbst, Derral R./Sohmer, S. H. (1999) (p. 647)
State of Hawaii
Hawaiian Islands
Lāna‘i Island introduced
invasive
Starr, Forest/Starr, Kim/Loope, Lloyd L. (2006) (p. 35)
Voucher cited: Starr, Starr, Anderson & Anderson 050623-1 (BISH)
State of Hawaii
Hawaiian Islands
Maui Island introduced
invasive
Wagner, Warren L./Herbst, Derral R./Sohmer, S. H. (1999) (p. 647)
East Maui
State of Hawaii
Hawaiian Islands
Moloka‘i Island introduced
invasive
Starr, Forest/Starr, Kim/Loope, Lloyd L. (2006) (p. 35)
Established in Waiakalae Gulch.
State of Hawaii
Hawaiian Islands
Ni‘ihau Island introduced
invasive
Wagner, Warren L./Herbst, Derral R./Sohmer, S. H. (1999) (p. 647)
State of Hawaii
Hawaiian Islands
O‘ahu Island introduced
invasive
Wagner, Warren L./Herbst, Derral R./Sohmer, S. H. (1999) (p. 647)
New Caledonia
New Caledonia
New Caledonia Islands introduced
invasive
Meyer, Jean-Yves (2000) (p. 99)
"Degraded forest"
New Caledonia
New Caledonia
New Caledonia Islands introduced
invasive
Gargominy, Oliver/Bouchet, Philipe/Pascal, Michel/Jaffre, Tanguy/Tourneu, Jean-Christophe (1996) (p. 381)
Forme localement des fourrés denses impénétrables, surtout en forêts-galeries dégradées.
New Caledonia
New Caledonia Archipelago
Île Grande Terre introduced
invasive
MacKee, H. S. (1994) (p. 72)
Vouchers cited: Vieillard 397, Eloin s.n. (BR), Balansa 314, Däniker 1831 (Z), Buchholz 1043, MacKee 13360, MacKee 33339
New Zealand (offshore islands)
Kermadec Islands
Raoul Island introduced
invasive
Smith, Albert C. (1985) (p. 95)
New Zealand (offshore islands)
Kermadec Islands
Raoul Island introduced
invasive
Sykes, W. R. (1977) (p. 79)
New Zealand (offshore islands)
Kermadec Islands
Raoul Island introduced
invasive
Sykes, W. R./West, C. J. (1996) (p. 459)
Subject of eradication program.
New Zealand (offshore islands)
Kermadec Islands
Raoul Island introduced
invasive
Webb, C. J./Sykes, W. R./Garnock-Jones, P. J. (1988) (p. 636)
"an aggressive weed on Raoul Id, even invading forest".
Philippines
Philippine Islands
Philippine Islands native
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
Philippines
Philippine Islands
Philippine Islands   Merrill, Elmer D. (1923) (p. 268)
In thickets about limestone cliffs and boulders, altitude about 1,200 m.
Pacific Rim
Country/Terr./St. &
Island group
Location Cited status &
Cited as invasive &
Cited as cultivated &
Cited as aboriginal introduction?
Reference &
Comments
Australia
Australia (continental)
New South Wales introduced
invasive
Australian Biological Resources Study (2013)
Australia
Australia (continental)
Queensland introduced
invasive
Australian Biological Resources Study (2013)
China
China
China (People's Republic of) native
Zhengyi, Wu/Raven, Peter H./Deyuan, Hong (2013)
"Among bushes on mountain slopes, ravines, plains, hills, by riversides; near sea level to 1800 m".
China
China
Hong Kong native
Wu, Te-lin (2001) (p. 134)
Colombia
Colombia
Colombia (Republic of) uncertain if native
ILDIS Co-ordinating Centre (2013)
Ecuador (Mainland)
Ecuador
Ecuador (Republic of) (continental) uncertain if native
ILDIS Co-ordinating Centre (2013)
Indonesia
Indonesia
Indonesia (Republic of) native
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
Japan
Japan
Japan (country) native
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
Japan
Ryukyu Islands
Ryukyu Islands native
ILDIS Co-ordinating Centre (2013)
North Korea
North Korea
North Korea (Democratic People's Republic of) native
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
South Korea
South Korea
South Korea (Republic of) native
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
Malaysia
Malaysia
Malaysia (country of) native
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
Perú
Perú
Perú (Republic of) introduced
invasive
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
Naturalized
Perú
Perú
Perú (Republic of) uncertain if native
ILDIS Co-ordinating Centre (2013)
Taiwan
Taiwan Island
Taiwan Island native
Zhengyi, Wu/Raven, Peter H./Deyuan, Hong (2013)
"Among bushes on mountain slopes, ravines, plains, hills, by riversides; near sea level to 1800 m".
Thailand
Thailand
Thailand (Kingdom of) native
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
United States (west coast)
United States (west coast states)
USA (California) introduced
invasive
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
Naturalized
Vietnam
Vietnam
Vietnam (Socialist 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
La Réunion (France)
La Réunion Island
La Réunion Island introduced
invasive
MacDonald, I. A. W./Thebaud, C./Strahm, W. A./Strasberg, D. (1991) (pp. 51-61)
La Réunion (France)
La Réunion Island
La Réunion Island introduced
invasive
Lavergne, Christophe (2006)
"Envahissant"
La Réunion (France)
La Réunion Island
La Réunion Island introduced
invasive
Kueffer, C./Lavergne, C. (2004) (p. 5)
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)
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)
Naturalized

Comments:  On Raoul, Kermadec Islands, but subject to an eradication program. Declared a noxious weed in South Africa.

Control: 

Chemical:  "Sensitive to foliar applications of glyphosate and triclopyr, and to soil applications of tebuthiuron. Adequate coverage of catsclaw foliage in dense infestations is difficult. Timely repeat applications (3-9 months) of triclopyr ester at 0.25 lb/acre allows gradual reductions and opening of the canopy and eventual control. This strategy not only stresses the catsclaw over a longer period but also controls newly germinated catsclaw seedlings. Accessible stems may be treated basal bark with triclopyr ester at 20% product in diesel or crop oil in very-low volume applications" (Motooka et al., 2003).


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

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This page was created on 1 JAN 1999 and was last updated on 7 MAR 2013.