Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Cat's Claw
Macfadyena unguis-cati

Family: Bignoniaceae (big-no-nih-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Macfadyena (mak-fad-ee-EN-uh) (Info)
Species: unguis-cati (UN-gu-iss KAT-ee) (Info)

Synonym:Bignonia tweediana
Synonym:Doxantha unguis-cati

One vendor has this plant for sale.

12 members have or want this plant for trade.

Vines and Climbers

20-30 ft. (6-9 m)

20-30 ft. (6-9 m)

USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)

Sun Exposure:
Sun to Partial Shade

Handling plant may cause skin irritation or allergic reaction

Bloom Color:
Bright Yellow

Bloom Time:
Mid Spring
Late Spring/Early Summer


Other details:
May be a noxious weed or invasive
Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping

Soil pH requirements:
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
From woody stem cuttings
By simple layering

Seed Collecting:
Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds

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By Kell
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There are a total of 33 photos.
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6 positives
6 neutrals
18 negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Neutral neferure On Sep 8, 2014, neferure from Giza
Egypt wrote:

This sounds ideal for growing in my 3ft high Ali-Baba pot on my roof-terrace in Egypt. I've been looking for a climber that will survive in full sun and on occasions won't get watered for 3 weeks at a time.
If I can find a starter plant in UK or Egypt I'll post later & let you know how I get on. It'll be isolated and no chance of it becoming invasive, and just maybe will survive.

Positive GT1 On Aug 25, 2014, GT1 from Glendale, AZ wrote:

Awesome plant, very beautiful with flowers at Easter. Grows well where other plants die.

Negative tlm1 On Apr 10, 2012, tlm1 from Jacksonville, FL (Zone 9a) wrote:

PLEASE do not plant this vine if you live here in Florida! It is the most invasive killer I've ever seen. This vine will kill every plant that it grows into, or on to. It will even smother a previously lush lawn. The MOST invasive plant I've ever seen.

Positive Dan_Starr On Mar 21, 2012, Dan_Starr from Tucson, AZ wrote:

Of course if you want some kind of gardening experience that requires no effort, cat claw will be a problem. The posters seemed like they were really busy. However, their experience does NOT match mine. Of course, I live in dry Tucson, Arizona and that might be the difference. As for the cat claw, I found that it's quite easy to remove from shingles, etc. if you watch it. I have one at my house and have had for ten years. I also take care of a friend's yard and he has a cat claw vine. I pruned it back today. Yes, it does grow a lot and has to be looked after. However, this growth is a plus in my book.

Negative Treighnor On Dec 4, 2010, Treighnor from Davenport, FL wrote:

Horrible, horrible, horrible invasive plant. It will smother almost anything and made holes in my roof by rooting through the shingles. It climbs up underneath the siding and comes out into the eaves and even into the attic. It creates tubers which require digging up. In my sandy soil, I had to dig down three feet. It was so entangled with the roots of my ligustrum hedges that to eradicate the vine, I had to dig up my hedge. It has invaded all the surrounding neighbors and the park behind my house, so that even after eradicating it from my yard, seeds blew back in. I have been battling it for thirty years. Weed killers do not get rid of it. Digging does, but what a chore. It will choke out anything. It is as bad or worse that kudzoo. People in deserts, seem to like it, but I would not plant it ANYWHERE in the Southeast. You will rue the day that the plant every got started in your yard.

Negative Sirbunsalot On Aug 9, 2010, Sirbunsalot from Metairie, LA wrote:

i'm trying to dig this horrible plant up and I'm wondering what the seeds look like. Also do you have to dig up all the tubers for it to die ?

Negative cholla7 On Aug 4, 2010, cholla7 from Lindsay, CA wrote:

This plant is like many others, it has it good attributes and
bad ones. If you don't let it spread into plants that you
do not want smothered, it is great for ground cover, fence
cover, etc. Needs little water in in hot Central Calif. summers.
But. Once established, it's a devil to kill! It will sprout from
giant underground, sweet potato-like tubers and from seeds.
Repeated hits with roundup or brush killer year after year
are what it takes to kill it and cleaning up the dead vines
is a labor intensive job. It's "cats claws" will also dig into
the bark of trees like avocados and kill them. It's a plant that
is best kept to itself or not planted at all. Kind of like
prickly pear cactus or cholla!

Positive CJRichards51 On Mar 26, 2010, CJRichards51 from Glendale, AZ wrote:

Has anyone found a way to clean a stucco wall after removing Cat's Claw.

Negative aussiegarden101 On Feb 15, 2010, aussiegarden101 from brisbane
Australia wrote:

This WEED is my living nightmare! I could quit work and try to remove this full time and still not get it done. I hav pulled out MASSIVE tubers. Its wrecking a lot of native bushlands & rainforests in Australia.

Positive azsusieq On Nov 17, 2009, azsusieq from Tucson, AZ wrote:

Living in Tucson, AZ, I was happy to find a plant that is sooo green in the brown desert and that withstands our terrific heat, especially on a block wall that radiates even more heat! Additionally, after established, the cat's claw is xeric, a definite plus in this area as well.

I just pulled out (literally) a plant that has been struggling to grow in the shade for the past two years, saw the tubers, and tranplanted it on a south/west wall where it has already started to sprout profusely.

Negative Agaveguy On May 19, 2009, Agaveguy from San Antonio, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:

Noxious, invasive, foreign weed. Roots as it crawls along the ground and makes tubers that are difficult to remove. Swamps small trees and shrubs. Grows extremely rapidly. Self-seeds prolifically.

Negative ctpunkin On May 4, 2009, ctpunkin from Madison, CT wrote:

Thank-you, Thank-you, THANK-YOU...for all the information on Cats Claw Vine. I live in Ct. and seen this vine growing in the wild and as a seed saver I grabbed a few pods in the fall to plant this spring. Sooooooooo happy I did not plant these seeds before reading the blog!!! I've already dealt with invasive plants...(cat tails, morning glories...the list goes on) needless to say I WILL NOT be planting cats claw! Thanks again :o) !!! P.S. The seed pods I have are 10" - 14" long and the vine I picked them from was at least 30 ft. tall.

Negative basaqua On Apr 5, 2009, basaqua from New Bern, NC wrote:

This plant grows wild in Eastern NC. It is extremely difficult to get rid of and will destroy a garden by smothering everything else. It will grow in all kinds of soil and all light conditions. I have not seen flowers, but I constantly pull and cut it. Not much luck with weed killers. The temperature here has gone below 10 F. Nearby wild areas probably are source of flowers and seeds. Can't believe someone would plant this.

Positive markaz On May 18, 2008, markaz from Peoria, AZ wrote:

This is probably the finest climbing vine for covering a cinderblock wall. We have a lot of these barriers in Arizona and the Cat's Claw is the plant of choice for quickly ridding one of cinderblock ugliness. As the majority of the negatives point out, planting it and leaving it unabated can take over wood siding, shingles, etc. Just pay attention to where it's headed and trim it back from unwanted areas. Yes, you do have to pay attention. This will provide a very attractive, low maintenance foliage to cover unsightly walls.

Negative labedoor On Dec 9, 2007, labedoor from New Orleans, LA wrote:

Can anybody provide me with some NAPALM? Seriously this is not a friendly vine. It is all over EVERY blighted home in New Orleans, not even Katrina could kill it!

Negative kittysgarden On Mar 31, 2007, kittysgarden from Live Oak, FL wrote:

This KILLER HIGHLY INVASIVE vine has almost destroyed my parents 70 year old heirloom garden in north Florida ! It smothered 60 year old camellias, azaleas, trees, etc. We have no idea how it got started. However, we do know it is impossible to control much less get rid of! The sharp, cat like claws allow it to grip and totally cover anything!
Cut it down prior to blooming or a million more seeds will spread from the long pods.
This plant needs to be banned in the U.S. before it destroys our native vegetation!

Positive wvanbusk On Feb 11, 2007, wvanbusk from Oregon City, OR (Zone 7a) wrote:

Have grown this plant on a south facing wall in Carefree, AZ for 30 years. It is easy to control by withholding irrigation. Pulls easily off of stucco periodically. Does not leave tendrils on walls when pulled off. Forms potato size tubers and will root where stems touch wet soil for long periods. Nice green color year around even after frosts and really hot weather. Needs to be trained onto walls, often spreads across the ground or into other plants. Best to isolate to one spot of soil to prevent spreading under and over other plants. Consider root barrier. Rarely flowers. Will attempt to grow in Willamette Valley in 2007.

Neutral frostweed On Dec 27, 2006, frostweed from Josephine, Arlington, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

Cat's Claw Macfadyena unguis-cati is Naturalized in Texas and other States and is considered an invasive plant in Texas.

Negative Stef211 On Jan 14, 2006, Stef211 from Houston, TX wrote:

I just bought a slightly rundown house in an old neighborhood in Houston. I saw that this vine had made its home in my yard, but I was unconcerned since the garden and house both needed major renovations.

Over the past couple of weeks, I noticed that this vine is everywhere!! It is at the top of one neighbor's mature oak trees, it has completely covered another neighbor's fence and it has grown from the ground, up through my siding, only to appear again along my roofline. I have to completely rip out the existing plants in my flowerbeds to even begin to try to eradicate this thing! I can't believe is legal to sell!

Negative NativePlantFan9 On Jan 5, 2005, NativePlantFan9 from Boca Raton, FL (Zone 10a) wrote:

Cat's Claw Vine or Yellow Trumpet Vine (Macfadyena unguis-cati) is one of the most invasive vines in many parts of the southern United States, from zone 8a southward, including in many areas of Florida including southeast Florida and the Keys and my area. It is extremely invasive in disturbed settings such as abandoned or old buildings, in concrete and in weedy, vacant lots and similar disturbed sites as well as along the perimeter or borders of natural areas. In poor areas of Miami-Dade and Broward and occasionally parts of Palm Beach counties and also in the Keys (southeast Florida coast) and on the southwest coast of Florida as well this vine is often seen growing in concrete and on the walls and along and over the roofs of poor or abandoned, rundown houses and large buildings, especially warehouse complexes and is extremely invasive especially in those areas. It is also found throughout many areas of Florida and in many counties throughout the state, mainly in parts of the Panhandle and in much of central Florida and on the southeast and southwest coasts and in the Keys. It is also invasive in many other southern states, such as Georgia, South Carolina, Louisiana and Texas. It is also found in and is a weed in Hawaii, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. It is nearly impossible to get rid of, is highly unattractive and unsightly at appearance, and is listed as a noxious weed in many areas of the southern U.S. and is a Category One Invasive on the Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council's Pest Plant List (FLEPPC). I hope nobody would ever plant this... it is purely a weed. It is fast-growing and more than once invades some natural areas, climbing over and completely covering and shading out sunlight, killing native vegetation. However, it is most invasive in urban settings and on the border of natural areas that are next to or are surrounded by urban settings. Please DO NOT PLANT THIS PLANT ANYWHERE IN THE U.S. OR ANYWHERE WHERE IT IS NOT NATIVE AND CAN BECOME INVASIVE!

MORE FACTS - Has yellow trumpet-like flowers (hence other common name used, Yellow Trumpet Vine). Fast-growing and invasive from zone 8a through 11 and nearly impossible to get rid of. Invades urban settings, especially around old or abandoned structures, fences, or weedy and/or vacant lots. Also invades some natural areas, climbing over and killing native or other vegetation. In Florida, found in much of central Florida as well as along the southeast and southwest coasts and in the Keys; in scattered locations in northern Florida and the Panhandle. Survives temperatures down to about 15 or 10 degrees, possibly slightly lower. Grows well from zone 8a south through zone 11. Some counties where it is invasive and found in Florida include:

Palm Beach

*All in the Tampa Bay/St. Petersburg general region mainly.

Indian River
St. Lucie


There are probably many more counties in Florida as well that have this invasive vine (most of the counties give are from info on this vine from the ISB Atlas of Florida Vascular Plants. Some counties given are based on details and/or guesses based on range map information.).

Listed in many areas as a noxious weed. FLEPPC Class One Invasive in Florida, including in my area.

South Carolina
*There are probably other states where this vine is found and/or invasive and/or spreading. This information is based on distribution info for this spp. on The Plants National Database by The United States Natural Resources Conservation Service.

Puerto Rico
U.S. Virgin Islands
*Also based on distribution info for this spp. on The Plants National Database.

MORAL OF THE STORY - Please, DO NOT PLANT THIS VINE IN WARM AREAS! It is way too invasive in the southern U.S., the Caribbean and other areas!

Negative SarahJumel On Oct 26, 2004, SarahJumel from New Orleans, LA wrote:

In New Orleans this is not only invasive in the garden but it will grow into your walls. I have pulled twenty feet of it, white from lack of light but alive and reaching up, out of the side of a house. I have to circle my home repeatedly yanking it down.
The tubers are huge bottle like growths, nearly impossible to reach. I will try to kill them by sticking the big vines into a jar of Roundup but I'm not optimistic. I saw some perv selling this horror on Ebay!
I'd kick him, if he were in front of me. Really. This is a vile weed and I would'nt risk it even where it will freeze back-nothing is worth this aggravation.

Negative MotherNature4 On Oct 5, 2004, MotherNature4 from Bartow, FL (Zone 9a) wrote:

Wish I could type NEGATIVE in all caps for everyone to see this extremely horrible plant. It is a Category I Exotic Pest Plant in Florida.

Negative Toxicodendron On Oct 4, 2004, Toxicodendron from Piedmont, MO (Zone 6a) wrote:

During a Florida internship, one of the worst jobs I was given was to help eradicate this vine. A huge area needed to be removed in order to save the other plants that it had enveloped. We crawled around on our knees and stomachs beneath the thorny old of us sawed the vines off at ground level while the other one immediately applied full strength Garlon. It is my understanding that this DID work. Roundup and other sprayed herbicides did not. Maybe this will help some of you.

Negative nocatsclaw On Jul 23, 2004, nocatsclaw from Gainesville, FL wrote:

I now live in north central Florida. Although I was able to identify this vine when I got here, I didn't find out that it was invasive. It has managed to kill a good part of my Ligustrum hedge, as well as several trees in my next door neighbor's yard. I actually came to this site hoping to find a way to eradicate it. My recommendation: don't plant any!

Neutral Mach1Duck On Jun 3, 2004, Mach1Duck from Mesa, AZ wrote:

My grandfather had this growing on the south side of his stucco house in Delano, California (Zone 9) from the 1940's until he died in 1977. The only time it came off of the house was when the house had to be restuccoed or repaired. Never heard of any problem with this plant...His comment was that it helped keep the house cool.

Neutral smashedcricket On Dec 1, 2003, smashedcricket from Phoenix, AZ wrote:

Cats Claw Vine is an aggressive tropical vine that climbs up trees and other surfaces with cat like claws in order to reach for more sunlight. It is found in dry woodlands of Southern, Central and South Americas. Once established it is hard to eradicate due to extensive underground tubors , and the vines tend to choke out all existing vegetation and deprive the forest of air and sunlight. Cats claw will grow in deep primary forest, and creep along the forest floors looking for a vertical object to cling to..more than often Cats Claw Vine is seen growing at the edges of secondary forests and near flood plains. This vine will tolerate a wide range of soils, slightly acidic and well drained.

Negative KactusKathi On Nov 12, 2003, KactusKathi from Goodyear, AZ (Zone 9a) wrote:

This plant is VERY INVASIVE. I have seen it actually lift the shingles off of roofs. It also attaches itself with the "claw" to stucco homes and walls and when you try to remove it the stucco comes off with it! The only way I was able to kill it was with gasoline (I know I shouldn't have but it was the only way.) DON'T PLANT THIS!!!!!!!!

Negative dogbane On Nov 12, 2003, dogbane from New Orleans, LA (Zone 9a) wrote:

I'd strongly advise against using this plant in areas that don't have regular, hard freezes. It can quickly cover trees and buildings and is nearly impossible to control, much less eradicate, in the coastal South. It forms large, extensive underground tubers that make it withstand even treatment with glyphosphate (RoundUp). It can germinate in the crack of a sidewalk and thrive there. I've seen them growing out of unused chimneys and covering the rooftops of houses. This plant spreads by seed and stolons. Established plants produce prodigeous numbers of seed. On the upside (?), I've never seen it growing in wild areas, only in urban settings.

Neutral WALT60 On Aug 19, 2003, WALT60 wrote:

According to the guild from where I bought this plant, it says exposure is full sun to partial shade; spacing varies. Average height and width is 25-40 feet. Water requirements are low, and once established is cold-hardy to 10F

Neutral smiln32 On Aug 31, 2001, smiln32 from Oklahoma City, OK (Zone 7a) wrote:

Plant anytime. Cutting the plant to the ground after planting is the only way to try to make it attach faster. Trim down hard after bloom to prevent the plant from becoming top-heavy. Necessitates frequent pruning to keep balanced.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Carefree, Arizona
Chandler, Arizona
Goodyear, Arizona
Kingman, Arizona
Peoria, Arizona
Phoenix, Arizona (2 reports)
Queen Creek, Arizona
Tolleson, Arizona
Tucson, Arizona (3 reports)
Lindsay, California
Palm Springs, California
Paso Robles, California
San Juan Capistrano, California
San Leandro, California
Madison, Connecticut
Bartow, Florida
Jacksonville, Florida (2 reports)
Live Oak, Florida
Sebring, Florida
Tallahassee, Florida
Tampa, Florida (2 reports)
Denham Springs, Louisiana
New Orleans, Louisiana
North Las Vegas, Nevada
New Bern, North Carolina
Houston, Texas
San Antonio, Texas

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