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kudzu

Pueraria montana var. lobata (Willd.) Maesen & S. Almeida

USDA PLANTS Symbol: PUMO
U.S. Nativity: Exotic
Habit: Vine


Appearance
Pueraria montana var. lobata is a climbing, deciduous vine capable of reaching lengths of over 100 ft. (30.5 m) in a single season. Its fleshy tap roots can reach 7 in. (18 cm) in width and grow to 9 ft. (3.8 m) deep. These roots can weigh up to 400 lbs. (180 kg).
Foliage
Leaves are alternate, compound (with three, usually lobed, leaflets), hairy underneath and up to 5.4 in. (15 cm) long.
Flowers
Flowering occurs in midsummer, when 0.5 in. (1.3 cm) long, purple, fragrant flowers hang, in clusters, in the axils of the leaves.
Fruit
Fruit are brown, hairy, flat, 3 in. (7.6 cm) long, 0.3 in. (0.8 cm) wide seed pods. Each pod can contain 3-10 hard seeds.
Ecological Threat
Preferred habitat includes open, disturbed areas such as roadsides, right-of-ways, forest edges, and old fields. Pueraria montana var. lobata often grows over, shades out and kills all other vegetation, including trees. It is native to Asia and was first introduced into the United States in 1876 at the Philadelphia Centennial Exposition. It was widely planted throughout the eastern United States in an attempt to control erosion.


Identification, Biology, Control and Management Resources

Nonnative Invasive Plants of Southern Forests - USDA Forest Service
Biological Control of Invasive Plants in the Eastern United States - USDA Forest Service
Southeast Exotic Pest Plant Council Invasive Plant Manual - SE-EPPC
Invasive Plant Atlas of New England - University of Connecticut
Kudzu eradication trials with new herbicides - USDA Forest Service
Kudzu eradication trials testing fifteen herbicides - USDA Forest Service
Herbicide Tests For Kudzu Eradication - USDA Forest Service
Plant Invaders of Mid-Atlantic Natural Areas - National Park Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Weeds Gone Wild: Alien Plant Invaders of Natural Areas - Plant Conservation Alliance
Fire Effects Information System - USDA Forest Service
Identification and Biology of Non-Native Plants in Florida's Natural Areas - University of Florida
Weed of the Week - USDA Forest Service
Invasive Species Management Plans for Florida - University of Florida - Center for Aquatic and Invasive Plants
Fact Sheet - Ontarios Invading Species Awareness Program