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Kudzu (Pueraria montana)

Description: Kudzu is a non-native deciduous woody legume where vines can reach lengths of 100 feet. It was introduced from Asia in the early 1900s. It was used for erosion control, livestock feed, and folk art.

Habitat: Occurs along right-of-ways, stream banks, around and in forests, and in pastures. Kudzu forms dense mats over the ground, debris, shrubs and mature trees.

Flower: June to September. Kudzu produces slender clusters of pea-like flowers from raised nodes spiraling up the stalk, opening from the base to top. The flower petals are lavender to wine colored with yellow centers.

Fruit and seeds: September to January. Kudzu has clustered dry, flattened legume pods bulging with seeds. Seeds are green with stiff golden-brown hairs.

Leaf: Alternate leaves with 3 leaflets, each leaflet up to 7 inches long and 8 inches wide. Leafstalks up to 12 inches long, long hairy, base swollen, with deciduous stipules.

Stem: Kudzu stems can be small or large depending on the size and age of the plant. Stems can be ropelike or woody rough bark vines up to 10 inches in diameter.

Roots: Kudzu has large semi-woody tuberous roots. These roots can reach depths from 3 to 16 feet.

The problem isā€¦Kudzu is an invasive species that can out-compete our native vegetation. It is a fast grower and has the potential to harbor pests of crops and humans. It threatens our forest and waterways because of the dense extreme growth potential.

Kudzu mature, Smith.

Kuzdu mature, Mary Ann Rose.

Kudzu flowers, Smith.