Dolichandra Species, Cat's Claw Creeper, Cat's Claw Trumpet Vine, Funnel Creeper

Dolichandra unguis-cati

Family: Bignoniaceae (big-no-nih-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Dolichandra
Species: unguis-cati (UN-gu-iss KAT-ee) (Info)
Synonym:Doxantha unguis-cati


Vines and Climbers

Water Requirements:

Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping

Sun Exposure:

Sun to Partial Shade



Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us


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)

Where to Grow:

Grow outdoors year-round in hardiness zone

Can be grown as an annual


Handling plant may cause skin irritation or allergic reaction


Bloom Color:

Bright Yellow

Bloom Characteristics:

This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Mid Spring

Late Spring/Early Summer

Other details:

May be a noxious weed or invasive

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


This plant is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:

Carefree, Arizona

Chandler, Arizona

Goodyear, Arizona

Kingman, Arizona

Peoria, Arizona

Phoenix, Arizona(3 reports)

Queen Creek, Arizona

Tolleson, Arizona

Tucson, Arizona(3 reports)

Lindsay, California

Murrieta, 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(2 reports)

North Las Vegas, Nevada

New Bern, North Carolina

Brackettville, Texas

Houston, Texas

San Antonio, Texas

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Nov 25, 2020, BeppeOf6 from Murrieta, CA wrote:

Southern CA Zone 9. Planted this vine 20+ yrs ago. It grew and lightly covered a UGLY wood fence and made a lovely back drop of green behind our pool. After several years it bloomed the most beautiful yellow flowers. The past two years after 10 yrs of drought it rapidly spread. But as we were replacing the fence with a new vinyl one I let it go. I just this past week (wearing long sleeves and gloves) ripped if off fence and small shed, trying to save roots, took off long seed pods and found one double potato size root. Placed several root lengths with fine root hairs into a pail of water. Once fencing is complete I will attempt to replant.Yes this is an invasive plant but it thrived and remained green year long with little to no water. It is easy to contain if you cut back and trim up once... read more


On Apr 27, 2016, CandiceCheyenne from Brackettville, TX wrote:

I made the mistake of propagating this cats claw about 5 or 6 years ago. I saw a vine growing in my old childhood neighborhood on a house once occupied by a sweet old woman that used to invite me in for snacks.
She was like a surrogate granny for me since my real gran lived too far away and didn't really have much to do with me...anyway, in my adulthood i was searching for some nostalgia of my past, so I saw her house and thought since her home is stucco snd so is mine, it should work out..right? I just took a small, blueberry sized tuber from under the soil. It started out nice and cute. It even looked awesome growing on one corner of my spanish style home for a few became a horrible beast from the movie Jumanji!!! It started looking very bushy and messy. It start... read more


On Mar 19, 2016, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

A tropical liana that can quickly transform ecosystems. Climbs into the tops of trees and kills them with its shade and weight. Spreads quickly both by vegetative growth and by its tremendous seed production.

The annual bloom season is brief, a week or so.

The Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council has listed this as a Category l invasive species.

Synonym: Dolichandra unguis-cati


On Jul 27, 2015, John100 from New Orleans, LA wrote:

I live in New Orleans where I've been battling cat's paw in my garden for 25 years. I cut it, spray it, pull it up, dig up tubers the size of sweet potatoes, yet all I have managed is to stop it from spreading. One summer while I was away it grew into my living room. There was a 16' vine growing up the living room wall when I came home from a month long trip. I have seen it kill 100-year old live oaks and rip weather boards off old houses. Please, do NOT plant or propagate it.


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.


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

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


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.


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.


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 wo... read more


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 ?


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!


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

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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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!


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!


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.


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.


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!


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, especial... read more


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.


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.


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.


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!


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.


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.


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!!!!!!!!


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.


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


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.