Caesalpinia decapetala

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Caesalpinia decapetala
Starr 011205-0119 Caesalpinia decapetala.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Rosids
Order: Fabales
Family: Fabaceae
Genus: Caesalpinia
Species: C. decapetala
Binomial name
Caesalpinia decapetala
(Roth) Alston
Caesalpinia decapetala - MHNT

Caesalpinia decapetala commonly known as the Mauritius or Mysore thorn or the cat's claw is a tropical tree species originating in India.

Description[edit]

It is as a robust, thorny, evergreen shrub 2–4 m high or climber up to 10 m or higher; often forming dense thickets; the stems are covered with minute golden-hair; the stem thorns are straight to hooked, numerous, and not in regular rows or confined to nodes. The leaves are dark green, paler beneath, not glossy, up to 300 mm long; leaflets up to 8 mm wide. The flowers are pale yellow, in elongated, erect clusters 100–400 mm long. Fruits are brown, woody pods, flattened, unsegmented, smooth, sharply beaked at apex, ± 80 mm long.

The medium-sized seeds may be dispersed by rodents and granivorous birds and running water. Trailing branches root where they touch the ground.

It has been introduced to Fiji, French Polynesia, Hawai‘i, New Caledonia, Norfolk Island, Australia, China, Japan, Korea, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, Mauritius, Reunion, Rodrigues, and South Africa. It has become a seriously problematic invasive species in many locations.

In Hawai‘i, where it has the local name pōpoki, it forms impenetrable brambles, climbs high up trees, closes off pastures to animals and impedes forest pathways.[1]

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