Caesalpinia decapetala commonly known as shoofly, Mauritius or Mysore thorn or the cat's claw is a tropical tree species originating in India.
It has been introduced to Fiji, French Polynesia, Hawai‘i, New Caledonia, Norfolk Island, Australia, China, Japan, Korea, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, Mauritius, Réunion, Rodrigues, Kenya and South Africa. It has become a seriously problematic invasive species in many locations.
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. Fruit are brown, woody pods, flattened, unsegmented, smooth, sharply beaked at apex, ± 80 mm long.
Habit and reproduction
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. Trailing branches root where they touch the ground. The medium-sized seeds may be dispersed by rodents and granivorous birds and running water.
- Invasive Species Specialist Group (ISSG). Caesalpinia decapetala
- Dressler, S.; Schmidt, M. & Zizka, G. (2014). "Caesalpinia decapetala". African plants – a Photo Guide. Frankfurt/Main: Forschungsinstitut Senckenberg.
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