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Marine Animal Encyclopedia

Grand Devil's-claw Pisonia grandis

The grand devil’s-claw is typically found on small tropical islands and its distribution is associated with sea bird colonies. It can grow as tall as 98 ft (30 m), the trunk can be up to 6 ft (2 m) in diameter, and it is often the dominant tree in coastal forests that are undisturbed by humans. Grand devil's-claw trees provide nesting and roosting sites for many species of seabirds, whose guano is an important fertilizer on isolated islands. The branches of grand devil's-claw break easily, and can root in the ground.

The Grand Devil's-claw is a Bird-killing Tree

The seeds of grand devil’s-claw are produced in clusters of 50–200 and exude a resin that makes them extremely sticky. They attach to the feathers of sea birds and may subsequently be flown to remote islands. This is an effective means of dispersal, but the seeds are so sticky that small birds often become completely entangled and die.

Grand Devil’s-claw habitat mapzoom image
  • Order Caryophyllales
  • Type Woody perennial
  • Height 46–98 ft (14–30 m)
  • Habitat Coastal and island forests
  • Distribution Coasts and islands in Indian Ocean, Southeast Asia, and South Pacific