pick-a-plant > Lab 8 > Macfadyena unguis-cati

Family: Bignoniaceae
Common Name: Yellow Trumpet Vine
Notes: The main use for Yellow Trumpet Vine in Yolo County is to hide big, ugly cinderblock walls and chainlink fences. The vine needs full sun to thrive and bloom, but give it some crummy, sun-drenched strip of dirt at the edge of a parking lot and it will climb like a happy monster. The best example of such a "Macfadyena Fence" is along the bike path on the south side of 5th street, just east of L Street. (There are many more examples of such walls along the freeway between Davis and Vacaville.)

The easy way to recognize this plant (and remember its scientific name) is to look for the sharp little tendrils that resemble the claws of a cat. The points on the claws are so strong and so fine that they'll catch on the ridges of your fingerprints as you drag them across your hand. Those distinctive hooked tendrils are the inspiration behind the the Spanish name for this plant, which is "Mano de Lagartija" or "hand of little lizard."

Look for:
- a climbing vine with large, tubular yellow flowers,
- elongated green seed capsules that dry to brown and split apart to release papery samaras,
- composite leaves consists of two shiny leaflets with a tendril between them,
- tendrils ending in three very sharp hooks, like the claws of a cat.

Similar Species: Primrose Jasmine also has yellow flowers and compound leaves and tends to grow on chainlink fences, but it doesn't have the long capsules or the "cat claws." Common Trumpet Vine has orange flowers and it uses aerial roots along the stems for climbing.