in Tucson, Phoenix,
Arizona and California

Gardening in Tucson, Phoenix, Arizona and California

       Back to Plant List

Macfadyena unguis-cati: Catclawvine

social icons Facebook Twitter Pinterest Instagram

Form: Vine.
Lifespan: Perennial.
Leaf retention: Evergreen but cold deciduous.
Growth rate: Rapid.
Mature Size: 25-30' long.
Flowers: Yellow trumpet flowers 3-4" wide.
Bloom: Spring, possibly summer. Each flower lasts one or two days. In full sun, more flowers bloom at one time, and the total bloom time may be two weeks. In full shade, the plant may bloom sporadically throughout spring and summer, most heavily in the spring.
Fruit: Seed pod often 20" long, green turning to brown, containing oblong, flat, winged seeds.
Leaves: Green leaves occur in pairs.
Stems: Woody, roots form at nodes wherever soil is touched. Three pronged, clawed tendrils at intervals along stem assist in vertical climbing.
Roots: Large underground tubers and above-ground roots called stolens. Highly invasive in moist areas.
Wildlife: Attracts bees and birds.
Toxic / Danger: Handling plant may cause skin irritation.
Origin: Tropical America.

Cultivation and Uses
USDA hardiness zones: 8b-10.
Heat tolerant: Yes.
Drought tolerant: Yes.
Sun: Full sun to full shade. Full sun produces the most flowers.
Water once established: Once or twice a month.
Soil: Adaptable, pH 6.1-7.8 (slightly acidic to slightly alkaline).
Prune: Border pruning: must be headed back if growing in unwanted direction.
Litter: Low.
Propagation: Seed, cuttings or tubers. Invasive in moist climates.
Uses: Ornamental, erosion control and ground cover in desert areas, shade or hide a vertical surface such as a fence. Withstands light foot traffic. Grow in pots to prevent invasiveness.

Another common name is Cat's Claw Vine. This plant is benign in dry southwestern climates, but difficult to eradicate in wet climates like Florida unless underground tubers are removed.

Do you have additional information or a different experience for this plant that you would like to share?
Email All contributions are welcome and appreciated.

copyright ©

Macfadyena unguis-cati: Cat Claw Vine - flower

Macfadyena unguis-cati: Cat Claw Vine - tendrils

Macfadyena unguis-cati: Cat Claw Vine