Cat’s Claw Vine – Identification
Q: We found this vine in Lake Charles, Louisiana over the 2009 Easter holidays. The resident at the home and the most popular garden nursery in the city could not identify it. So we brought it back to Marietta .
The vine was climbing on a metal chain link fence and also right up the side of a wooden garage. It is spiny, with little climbing fingers as if to latch on to anything it touches.
The flowers are a beautiful bright yellow with trumpets of about 3 inches. Each flower trumpet has five petals of which one petal on every flower is twisted about 90 degrees.
A: You brought back cat’s claw vine, Macfadyena unguis-cati, also known as yellow trumpet vine. It’s a terribly invasive plant in FL, MS, AL, and LA.
It behaves as a smaller version of kudzu. As you noticed, those little grasping fingers latch onto anything within reach and allow the vine to quickly clamber over.
This is another in the long series of noxious invasive vines we battle in the Southeast (kudzu, Japanese honeysuckle, air potato, etc).
The good news is that this vine is not winter hardy in the northern half of Georgia.
Despite the attractive flowers, for the good of the Georgia environment, destroy the plants you have.