Pacific Island Ecosystems at Risk (PIER)

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Macfadyena unguis-cati
(L.) A.H.Gentry, Bignoniaceae
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Present on Pacific Islands?  yes

Primarily a threat at high elevations?  no

Risk assessment results:  High risk, score: 17 (Go to the risk assessment)

Other Latin names:  Bignonia unguis-cati L.; Dolichandra unguis-cati (L.) L. G. Lohmann; Doxantha unguis-cati (L.) Miers

Common name(s): [more details]

English: cat's claw climber, cat's-claw, cat's-claw vine, catclaw-creeper, catclaw-trumpet, funnel creeper, funnel-creeper, macfadyena, yellow trumpet vine

French: griffe à chatte, griffe chatte, liane patate, patte d'oiseau

Spanish: bejuco de gato, paz y justicia, uña de gato

Habit:  vine

Description:  "Lianas up to 15 m or more long, often rooting at the nodes, glabrous or nearly so.  Leaves drying dark green to nearly black, dimorphic, juvenile plants with small leaflets 1-2 cm long, 0.4-0.8 cm wide, mature leaflets narrowly ovate to lanceolate, 5-16 cm long, 1.2-6.9 cm wide, both surfaces sparsely lepidote, tendril deciduous, 3-forked, 0.1-3.5 cm long, each fork bearing a small horny hook.  Flowers usually in axillary clusters of 1-3 (-15); calyx cup-like, 0.1-1.8 cm long, glabrous to sparsely lepidote, margins crenulate-undulate; corolla yellow with ca 9 orange lines in the threat, tubular-campanulate, 4.5-10 cm long, 1.2-2.4 cm wide at the mouth, the tube 3.3-6.9 cm long, puberulent within along the throat ridges.  Capsules drying blackish, linear, flattened, tapering at both ends, 26-95 cm long, 1-2 cm in diameter, inconspicuously lepidote.  Seeds 1-1.8 cm long, 4.2-5.8 cm wide, the wings membranous, not sharply demarcated from the seed body"  (Wagner et al., 1999; p. 388).

Habitat/ecology:  "It prefers fertile, well drained soils, but appears to tolerate most soil types, particularly alluvial soils.  Root tubers and stolons form in the plant's second year and can subsequently form at each leaf node while the vine is prostrate.  As such, the plant can form a dense mat which carpets the forest floor.  The vine climbs standing vegetation and can smother native trees and shrubs.  It has invaded riparian vegetation in south-east, coastal Queensland and in north-east, coastal New South Wales.  Plant communities at risk include riparian and rainforest communities in sub-tropical and tropical zones..." (Csurhes and Edwards, 1998; p. 116).

"In Puerto Rico, cat's claw grows from near sea level to over 600 m in elevation and in sites that receive mean annual rainfalls from about 750 to about 2400 mm. It will tolerate most soils, except very poorly drained and salty soils. The species can tolerate a few degrees of frost, being killed to the ground but resprouting afterward (Watkins and Sheehan 1975). Cat's claw is moderately shade tolerant as a young plant and grows in both full sun and under forest canopies. It may be less shade tolerant as an adult. The species is common in savannas, secondary forest, and remnant high forest. It can survive grazing and fire but is eliminated by deep grass swards"  (Wildland shrubs of the United States and its territories).

In Hawai‘i, "cultivated as an ornamental and sparingly naturalized"  (Wagner et al., 1999; p. 388). In New Caledonia, "et très envahissant" (MacKee, 1994; p. 22).

Propagation:  "The winged seeds are dispersed by the wind. Seedlings are common and widespread in suitable habitat. Young plants sprout when damaged and layer (root) whenever stems touch the ground"  (Wildland shrubs of the United States and its territories).

Native range:  Mexico and the West Indies to Argentina (Wagner et al., 1999; p. 388).

Presence:

Pacific
Country/Terr./St. &
Island group
Location Cited status &
Cited as invasive &
Cited as cultivated &
Cited as aboriginal introduction?
Reference &
Comments
Cook Islands
Southern Cook Islands
Rarotonga Island cultivated
McCormack, Gerald (2013)
Cook Islands
Southern Cook Islands
Rarotonga Island introduced
cultivated
Space, James C./Flynn, Tim (2002) (p. 11)
Federated States of Micronesia
Chuuk Islands
Weno (Moen) Island introduced
invasive
Fosberg, F. R./Sachet, M.-H./Oliver, R. L. (1993) (p. 9)
Voucher cited: Fosberg 60330 (US, BISH, POM)
Federated States of Micronesia
Chuuk Islands
Weno (Moen) Island   Bishop Museum (Honolulu) (1980) (voucher ID: BISH 561220)
Taxon name on voucher: Macfadyena unguis-cati (L.) A.H.Gentry
French Polynesia
Society Islands
Tahiti Island introduced
cultivated
Florence, J./Chevillotte, H./Ollier, C./Meyer, J.-Y. (2013)
Cultivée
Guam
Guam Island
Guam Island   Wagner, W. L./ Herbst, D. R./Weitzman, A./Lorence, D.H. (2013)
State of Hawaii
Hawaiian Islands
Hawai‘i (Big) Island introduced
invasive
Imada, Clyde T./Staples, George W./Herbst, Derral R. (2000) (p. 11)
Voucher cited: C. Imada & K. Arakaki 99-46 (BISH)
State of Hawaii
Hawaiian Islands
Hawai‘i (Big) Island introduced
invasive
Starr, Forest/Martz, Kim/Loope, Lloyd L. (2002) (p. 19)
Voucher cited: Starr & Martz 000620-1 (BISH)
State of Hawaii
Hawaiian Islands
Kaua‘i Island introduced
invasive
cultivated
Wagner, Warren L./Herbst, Derral R./Sohmer, S. H. (1999) (p. 388)
State of Hawaii
Hawaiian Islands
Lāna‘i Island introduced
invasive
cultivated
Wagner, Warren L./Herbst, Derral R./Sohmer, S. H. (1999) (p. 388)
State of Hawaii
Hawaiian Islands
Maui Island introduced
invasive
Oppenheimer, Hank L./Bartlett, R. T. (2000) (pp. 2-3)
West Maui. Voucher cited: Oppenheimer H89936 (BISH)
State of Hawaii
Hawaiian Islands
O‘ahu Island introduced
invasive
cultivated
Wagner, Warren L./Herbst, Derral R./Sohmer, S. H. (1999) (p. 388)
New Caledonia
New Caledonia
New Caledonia Islands introduced
invasive
Meyer, Jean-Yves (2000) (p. 100)
"Dry forests"
New Caledonia
New Caledonia Archipelago
Île Grande Terre introduced
invasive
Gargominy, Oliver/Bouchet, Philipe/Pascal, Michel/Jaffre, Tanguy/Tourneu, Jean-Christophe (1996) (p. 379)
Très envahissante à Yahoué.
New Caledonia
New Caledonia Archipelago
Île Grande Terre introduced
invasive
cultivated
MacKee, H. S. (1994) (p. 22)
Vouchers cited: Baumann 7430, MacKee 15889, MacKee 26570, MacKee 42318
Niue
Niue
Niue Island introduced
invasive
Space, James C./Flynn, Tim (2000) (p. 5)
Niue
Niue
Niue Island introduced
invasive
Space, James C./Waterhouse, Barbara M./Newfield, Melanie/Bull, Cate (2004) (pp. 11-12)
Vanuatu
New Hebrides Islands
Êfaté (Efete) Island introduced
invasive
Orapa, Warea (year unknown)
Communication to Aliens listserver.
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
cultivated
Csurhes, S./Edwards, R. (1998) (p. 116)
Australia
Australia (continental)
Queensland introduced
invasive
cultivated
Csurhes, S./Edwards, R. (1998) (p. 116)
China
China
Hong Kong introduced
cultivated
Wu, Te-lin (2001) (p. 257)
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)
Ecuador (Mainland)
Ecuador
Ecuador (Republic of) (continental) 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)
Mexico
Mexico
Mexico (United Mexican States) native
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
New Zealand
New Zealand
New Zealand (country) introduced
invasive
cultivated
Webb, C. J./Sykes, W. R./Garnock-Jones, P. J. (1988) (p. 263)
Collected once in wild but likely to naturalize.
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)
Perú
Perú
Perú (Republic of) native
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
Singapore
Singapore
Singapore (Republic of) introduced
cultivated
Chong, Kwek Yan/Tan, Hugh T. W./Corlett, Richard T. (2009) (p. 58)
Cultivated only
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
Lavergne, Christophe (2006)
"Envahissant"
Mauritius
Mautitius Islands (Mauritius and Rodrigues)
Mauritius Island introduced
invasive
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
Naturalized
Seychelles
Seychelles Islands
Seychelles Islands introduced
invasive
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
Naturalized
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)
United States (other states) introduced
invasive
Staples, George W./Herbst, Derral R. (2005) (p. 183)
"Becoming a weed along the U.S. Gulf coast".
United States (continental except west coast)
United States (other states)
USA (Florida) introduced
invasive
Staples, George W./Herbst, Derral R. (2005) (p. 183)

Comments:  Reported moderately invasive in New Caledonia (Meyer, 2000; p. 100).

A serious environmental weed in sub-tropical northeast New South Wales and southeast Queensland (Barbara Waterhouse, pers.com.)

"Still very restricted to an old military base called Port Havanna on Efate. Suspected of been introduced from New World as military camouflage." (Warea Orapa, communication to Aliens listserver).

Two infestations noted on Niue (Space et al., 2004).

Planting of this species is prohibited in Miami-Dade County, Florida (U.S.) (Miami-Dade County Dept. of Planning and Zoning, 2010).

Control: 

Physical:  Difficult because of root tubers and rooting from pieces.  "Vélez and van Overbeek (1950) report that older plants are killed by simply cutting the stems"  (Wildland shrubs of the United States and its territories).  "Hand pull or dig out small plants (all year round): small infestations only, ensuring removal of all stems, roots and tubers. Dispose of all plant material at a refuse transfer station"  (Weedbusters New Zealand).

Chemical:  "1. Cut and stump paint (spring-summer): cut vines near the base and paint the cut stump with undiluted glyphosate. Leave the vine in the canopy to die, ensuring no vines are touching the ground. Regrowth from stumps can be sprayed with glyphosate (20ml/1L) + penetrant.
2. Overall spray (spring-summer): use for ground layer carpets of vines, glyphosate (20ml/1L) + penetrant"  (Weedbusters New Zealand).

BiologicalCharidotis auroguttata (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae; Cassidinae) has been proposed for introduction to Australia (Tanya Rough, communications to Aliens listserver).

Additional information:
Photos and additional information at University of Florida, Center for Aquatic and Invasive Plants.
Information from the book "Identification and biology of non-native plants in Florida's natural areas" (PDF format).
Information from the Global Invasive Species Database.
Information sheet from Weedbusters New Zealand.
Fact sheet from the Government of Queensland, Australia (PDF format).
Fact sheet from "Wildland shrubs of the United States and its territories: thamnic descriptions" (PDF format).
Article from "Wildland Weeds"

Additional online information about Macfadyena unguis-cati is available from the Hawaiian Ecosystems at Risk project (HEAR).

Information about Macfadyena unguis-cati as a weed (worldwide references) may be available from the Global Compendium of Weeds (GCW).

Taxonomic information about Macfadyena unguis-cati may be available from the Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN).

References:

Bishop Museum (Honolulu). 1980. Voucher specimen #BISH 561220 (Fosberg, F.R. 60330).

Cardenas, Juan/Reys, Carlos E./Doll, Jerry D./Pardo, Fernando. 1972. Tropical weeds; malezas tropicales, vol. 1. International Plant Protection Center, Oregon State University, Corvallis. 341 pp.

Chong, Kwek Yan/Tan, Hugh T. W./Corlett, Richard T. 2009. A checklist of the total vascular plant flora of Singapore: native, naturalised and cultivated species. Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research, National University of Singapore. 273 pp.

Csurhes, S./Edwards, R. 1998. Potential environmental weeds in Australia: Candidate species for preventative control. Canberra, Australia. Biodiversity Group, Environment Australia. 208 pp.

Florence, J./Chevillotte, H./Ollier, C./Meyer, J.-Y. 2013. Base de données botaniques Nadeaud de l'Herbier de la Polynésie Française (PAP). (online resource).

Fosberg, F. R./Sachet, M.-H./Oliver, R. L. 1993. Flora of Micronesia. Part 5. Bignoniaceae--Rubiaceae. Smithsonian Contrib. Bot. 81: 1-135.

Francis, John K., ed. 2009. Wildland Shrubs of the United States and its Territories: Thamnic Descriptions General Technical Report IITF-WB-1 U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service International Institute of Tropical Forestry and Shrub Sciences Laboratory (online resource).

Gargominy, Oliver/Bouchet, Philipe/Pascal, Michel/Jaffre, Tanguy/Tourneu, Jean-Christophe. 1996. Conséquences des introductions d'espèces animales et végétales sur la biodiversité en Nouvelle-Calédonie. Rev. Ecol. (Terre Vie) 51:375-401.

Holm, Leroy/Pancho, Juan V./Herberger, James P./Plucknett, Donald L. 1979. A geographical atlas of world weeds. John Wiley & Sons, New York. 391 pp.

Imada, Clyde T./Staples, George W./Herbst, Derral R. 2000. New Hawaiian plant records for 1999. In: Evenhuis, Neal L. and Eldredge, Lucius G., eds. Records of the Hawaii Biological Survey for 1999. Part 1: Articles. Bishop Museum Occasional Papers. 63:9-16.

Langeland, K. A./Burks, K. Craddock. eds. 1998. Identification and biology of non-native plants in Florida's natural areas. Gainesville, FL: University of Florida. 165 pp.

Lavergne, Christophe. 2006. List des especes exotiques envahissantes a La Reunion. Unpublished manuscript (Excel file). .

MacKee, H. S. 1994. Catalogue des plantes introduites et cultivées en Nouvelle-Calédonie. Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle, Paris, 164 p.

McCormack, Gerald. 2013. Cook Islands Biodiversity Database, Version 2007.2. Cook Islands Natural Heritage Trust, Rarotonga.

Meyer, Jean-Yves. 2000. Preliminary review of the invasive plants in the Pacific islands (SPREP Member Countries). In: Sherley, G. (tech. ed.). Invasive species in the Pacific: A technical review and draft regional strategy. South Pacific Regional Environment Programme, Samoa. 190 pp.

Miami-Dade County Dept. of Planning and Zoning. 2010. The landscape manual. Draft ninth edition, August 2010. 249 pp.

Oppenheimer, Hank L./Bartlett, R. T. 2000. New plant records from Maui, O‘ahu, and the Hawai‘i Islands. In: Evenhuis, Neal L. and Eldredge, Lucius G., eds. Records of the Hawaii Biological Survey for 1999. Part 2: Notes. Bishop Museum Occasional Papers. 64:1-10.

Orapa, Warea. 0. Warea Orapa, pers. com.

Space, James C./Flynn, Tim. 2000. Report to the Government of Niue on invasive plant species of environmental concern.  USDA Forest Service, Honolulu. 34 pp.

Space, James C./Flynn, Tim. 2002. Report to the Government of the Cook Islands on invasive plant species of environmental concern. USDA Forest Service, Honolulu. 146 pp.

Space, James C./Waterhouse, Barbara M./Newfield, Melanie/Bull, Cate. 2004. Report to the Government of Niue and the United Nations Development Programme: Invasive plant species on Niue following Cyclone Heta. UNDP NIU/98/G31 - Niue Enabling Activity. 80 pp.

Staples, George W./Herbst, Derral R. 2005. A tropical garden flora: plants cultivated in the Hawaiian Islands and other tropical places. Bishop Museum Press, Honolulu. 908 pp.

Starr, Forest/Martz, Kim/Loope, Lloyd L. 2002. New plant records from the Hawaiian archipelago. In: Evenhuis, Neal L. and Eldredge, Lucius G., eds. Records of the Hawaii Biological Survey for 2000. Part 2: Notes. Bishop Museum Occasional Papers. 69:16-27.

U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. 2013. National Genetic Resources Program. Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). Online searchable database.

Wagner, W. L./ Herbst, D. R./Weitzman, A./Lorence, D.H. 2013. Flora of Micronesia. National Tropical Botanical Garden and the Smithsonian Institution. Online database.

Wagner, Warren L./Herbst, Derral R./Sohmer, S. H. 1999. Manual of the flowering plants of Hawaii. Revised edition. Bernice P. Bishop Museum special publication. University of Hawai‘i Press/Bishop Museum Press, Honolulu. 1919 pp. (two volumes).

Webb, C. J./Sykes, W. R./Garnock-Jones, P. J. 1988. Flora of New Zealand, Volume IV: Naturalised pteridophytes, gymnosperms, dicotyledons. Botany Division, DSIR, Christchurch. 1365 pp.

Whistler, W. A. 2000. Tropical ornamentals: a guide. Timber Press, Portland, Oregon. 542 pp.

Wu, Te-lin. 2001. Check List of Hong Kong Plants. Hong Kong Herbarium and the South China Institute of Botany. Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department Bulletin 1 (revised). 384 pp.


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This page was created on 1 JAN 1999 and was last updated on 4 JUL 2012.