Cat's claw creeper (Macfadyena unguis-cati)

Weed control program

Section 371 (1) b of the Biosecurity Act 2015

This Weed Control Program is a Council endorsed document under Section 371 (1) (b) of the Biosecurity Act 2015 and describes how a person must discharge the person’s general biosecurity duty for the biosecurity matter (weed) described.

Plant species

Common name: Cat's claw creeper
Scientific name: Macfadyena unguis-cati

Area of operation

Local government area of Eurobodalla Shire.

Species information

Cat's claw creeper was introduced to Australia as a garden plant and has escaped to become a major weed of native forests and riparian areas in eastern Australia. Its climbing woody stems (lianas) cling to tree trunks, enabling it to grow into the forest canopy. Cat's claw creeper competes with native plants by forming a dense above-ground mat and numerous underground reproductive tubers.

In native rainforests it can overtop and kill mature trees, opening up the canopy for light-loving weeds. It produces abundant seeds with papery wings that aid dispersal, particularly by water and wind. Established plants can also reproduce vegetatively from tubers and creeping stems.

Cat's claw creeper invades riparian zones and sub-tropical and tropical rainforests. These include littoral rainforest and river flat eucalypt forest on coastal floodplains, listed as endangered ecological communities in NSW. The ends of the tendrils have stiff tips that form hooks (like cat’s claws) that aid in climbing.

Cat's claw creeper is rarely found in the Eurobodalla Shire, and all infestations pose an enormous threat to the native vegetation of our shire.

Legal obligations

Any person who deals with biosecurity matter or a carrier and who knows, or ought reasonably to know, the biosecurity risk posed or likely to be posed by the biosecurity matter, carrier or dealing has a biosecurity duty to ensure that, so far as is reasonably practicable, the biosecurity risk is prevented, eliminated or minimised.

Weed risk assessment

Risk level: Medium
Impacts: Environment
Control objective: Extirpation

Council control requirements

  1. The plant must be destroyed.
  2. The landholder must prevent spread from their land.
  3. The landholder or occupier must notify Council if the plant is found on the land.
  4. The plant must not be grown, propagated or distributed.


A person who fails to discharge the person’s general biosecurity duty is guilty of an offence.

In the event that the general biosecurity duty is not discharged, Council may:

  • charge a reinspection fee
  • issue a fine notice (refer to Biosecurity Regulation 2017 (NSW) Schedule 6 - Penalty notice offences)
  • enter the property, perform weed direction works, and recoup all costs and expenses incurred.

Review date

When required.

Contact details

Invasive Species Supervisor - Biosecurity Act 2015 Authorised Officer
PO Box 99
Moruya NSW 2537

T: 02 4474 1000