Controlling the cat's claw creeper
Farmer's Weekly|April 23, 2021
The leaf-tying moth has been released as a biological control agent against this invasive alien plant.

The exotic vine cat’s claw creeper (Dolichandra unguis-cati) is a woody, evergreen creeper that has become a significant threat to biodiversity in many sensitive ecosystems across South Africa. The vine is originally native to central and tropical South America, including the West Indies.

With its showy yellow flowers, cat’s claw was originally sold as a hedging plant or natural screen for unsightly walls and buildings. The plant’s ability to ‘climb’ is facilitated by its distinctive leaves, which consist of two leaflets and a modified three-forked tendril.

Each tendril is tipped with a tiny, hardened hook that can attach to most surfaces, enabling the vine to grow up walls, tree trunks, and over other vegetation. It is these tendrils that resemble claws, giving the plant its common name.

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