Weed of the Week: Cats claw creeper


Name: Cats claw creeper

Scientific name: Macfadyena unguis-cati

How to identify the weed: A long-lived woody climber with fibrous roots and tubers.  Stems become woody with age and adhere to supports via short rootlets.  The leaves are oppositely arranged, consisting of a pair of oval leaflets and a claw-like leaf tendril that enables the plant to grow to heights of over 30m.  The bright yellow flowers are borne singly or in small clusters, consisting of a five-petalled tubular flower 4-10cm long.  The elongated and flattened seed capsules contain numerous papery seeds.

Why is the weed a problem: This very invasive plant grows as a groundcover and climber and quickly outcompetes native vegetation in riparian and rainforest communities.  It can completely smother existing vegetation, including tall canopy trees.  A combination of shading and sheer weight from the climber, leads to an early death for most native plants.  It is spread by dumping of garden waste and the movement of its papery seeds by wind, floods and soil relocation.

How to manage the weed: For minor infestations, manual removal of climber, seeds, roots and tubers is an effective of control.  For large infestations, chemical treatment would be required.  Cut climbers close to the ground and treat with a suitable herbicide.  Regrowth can be retreated using foliar spraying. For more information, please contact IndigiScapes on 3824 8611.

Any other interesting facts: This plant was introduced as an ornamental garden plant from tropical America.  It is now listed on the Global Invasive Species Database.

Cats claw

Cats claw

Cats claw

Cats claw

Cats claw

Cats claw