Dolichandra Unguis is a woody evergreen creeper native to the central and tropical regions of South America and the Caribbean. It belongs to the family Bignoniaceae. It was formerly known as Macfadyena unguis
It grows quite quickly and requires little care.
The plant can be grown in full shade or partial shade.
The leaves appear in bunches of three. Two of them are lance-shaped while the third is modified into a three-pronged tendril. These tendrils have stiff tips s that form hooks that aid in climbing, hence the name cat's claw. The flowers are showy, bright yellow, trumpet or bell-shaped with an orange stripe at the throat. The fruit is glossy green when young and matures to a dark brown. Long, narrow pods contain a lot of seeds. Blooming season is in spring.
The plant is fairly drought tolerant so you needn't worry if you miss a day or two of watering. Allow the soil to dry out between watering. Over-watering and water-logging can cause root-rot in the plant.
The plant does not have specific soil preferences and can tolerate a wide variety of soils even slightly salty soils. The only thing of importance is that the soil should be well-drained. Fertile loamy soils can be used.
Cat's claw creeper can climb up to 50ft on buildings and trees if not controlled. It spreads very rapidly and is considered invasive.
You can use any regular fertilizer for better blooms although the plant is not a big feeder. Water the plant before fertilizing to prevent fertilizer burn.
The plant is usually not affected by pests and diseases. Use organic insecticide and neem oil for occasional aphids.
The plant is a good wall creeper and can be used as a screen or a vertical green wall or on a trellis. Cat's claw is said to have medicinal benefits and is used in the treatment of gout, lupus, arthritis, digestive ailments etc. It is also said to help increase circulation, lower blood pressure and reduce cholesterol.