by Stephen Mifsud
   20 May 2024      ()
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Dolichandra unguis-cati   (Cat-claw ivy)

Dolichandra unguis-cati  (BIGNONIACEAE.) 
Images for this profile are taken from the Maltese Islands after year 2000.

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Profile Date Sep-2010 (taxon update: Jul-2022)
Citation for this page Mifsud, S. (2022). Dolichandra unguis-cati - datasheet created on Sep-2010. Retrieved from on 20-May-2024

Nomenclature and Basic Information

Species name :

Dolichandra unguis-cati(L.) L.G.Lohmann
Published in Nuevo Cat. Fl. Vasc. Venezuela : 273 (2008)

Synonyms :
(basionym or principal syn.)

Bignonia unguis L.
Synonym that was used for long in Malta: Macfadyena unguis-cati (L.) A.H.Gentry
Full list of synonyms : [Euro+Med] [PlantList] [IPNI] [POWO] [Catalogue of Life] []

Plant Family :

Bignoniaceae Juss. (The Bignonia Family)
5 species from the Bignoniaceae family are recorded from the Maltese Islands.

English name(s) :

Cat-claw ivy, Catsclaw trumpet

Maltese name(s) :

Dwiefer il-qattus, Sieq il-qattus

Status for Malta :

Naturalised Alien. Species that was introduced in Malta after year 1492 (Columbus' discovery of the New World) and spreads and integrates to form established, non-invasive populations. Species may become become invasive if it widespreads rapidly.

Frequency :

Very Common     Common    Frequent     Scarce     Rare    Very rare    Extinct

Growth form :

Raunkiaer lifeform [info]: Nano-Phanerophyte ( small trees to large shrubs, usually <5 m )
Germination [info]: Dicotyledon

Legal Protection :

Not legally protected till the last update of this website (2/Mar/2022)

Red List (1989) :

Not listed in the Red Data Book of the Maltese Islands

Flowering Time :

April – June

Colour of Flowers:



Not particularly toxic

Name Derivation :


Planting in rural areas :

Cannot be planted in the wild (rural areas) since the species may be invasive (see ERA guidelines)

Remarks :

Some classifications prefer Macfadyena unguis-cati as the accepted taxon (e.g. Euro+Med Checklist) while others (e.g. Kew) use Dolichandra unguis-catis. Seems the latter is being accepted by more authorities. The species has been described under some 40 different taxa including genera like Batocydia, Bignonia, Doxantha, Macfadyena, Microbignonia and Spathodea. Sometimes found as a casual escape in the wild.

Description, Habitat and Distribution
Habitat in Europe: Data will be available in the next update of this website.
Preferred habitat in Malta: Ornamental climber usually seen over walls of parks and public gardens but sometimes found growing in abandoned farms, field walls or old gardens (e.g. Buskett). It is not invasive species despite it produces thousands of wind-dispersed seeds (samaras).
Botanical Description: Stem: bark squamose absent; colour of the branch brown; branch indumentum glabrous/puberulent; branchlet colour green; branchlet indumentum glabrous/puberulent/pubescent. Leaf: form of the leaflet ovate/elliptic/oblong/obovate; apex of the leaflet acute/apiculate/cuspidate/acuminate; base of the leaflet cuneate/rounded/truncate; type of the tendril trifid uncinate not woody. Inflorescence: type of the inflorescence thyrse/thyrse frondose; form of the bract(s) floral elliptic/lanceate; form of the bracteole(s) lanceolate/linear. Flower: colour of the corolla yellow; colour of the calyx green; form of the corolla infundibular with the upper patent and the lobe(s) lower spread; form of the calyx campanulate; position of the anther included; position of the stigma included. Fruit: form of the fruit linear. Seed: type of the seed winged.
Native region outside Europe: Central America, South America (Mexico to Brazil and northern Argentina) and the Caribbean

Distributional map in Europe
and the Mediterranean region (2018):
Occurrences in Europe and the Mediterranean region.
(from Euro+Med Checklist, 2019)
  Country codes  
[nAg aCa(C) cSi(S)]

Links & Further literature (0 papers)

Google Web

Google Images

Google Scholar

Research Gate




Med Checklist

Cat. of Life



World Flora Online

Plants of the World Online

Vienna Virt. Herb.

RBGE Herbarium

KEW Herbarium




Kindly Email if there are papers and publications about local studies or information about this species to be included in the list above.

Species Images (9 images)
   Dolichandra unguis-cati   -   Image Code: DLCUC-0.
   Dolichandra unguis-cati   -   Image Code: DLCUC-1.
   Dolichandra unguis-cati   -   Image Code: DLCUC-2.
   Dolichandra unguis-cati   -   Image Code: DLCUC-3.
   Dolichandra unguis-cati   -   Image Code: DLCUC-4.
   Dolichandra unguis-cati   -   Image Code: DLCUC-5.
   Dolichandra unguis-cati   -   Image Code: DLCUC-6.
   Dolichandra unguis-cati   -   Image Code: DLCUC-7.
   Dolichandra unguis-cati   -   Image Code: DLCUC-8.

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