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Pueraria lobata

Pronunciation: Pew-er-ray-ree-uh low-bah-tuh
Family: Fabaceae/leguminosae (bean family)
Common Name: Kudzu vine, ge gen (chinese), ohwi (japanese)
Plant Type:
  • vines and climbers
  • fruits, vegetables
Height to: 40'
USDA Hardiness Zones:
  • -10 to -20ºF ZONE 5
  • 0 to -10ºF ZONE 6
  • 10 to 0ºF ZONE 7
  • 20 to 10ºF ZONE 8
  • 30 to 20ºF ZONE 9
  • 40 to 30ºF ZONE 10
Sun Exposure:
  • full sun
Bloom Season:
  • late summer
  • early autumn
Bloom Description: The purple flowers are fragrant and borne in showy erect clusters (racemes) to 10 in (25. 4 cm) long. The fruit is an elongate, flat legume. Kudzu can grow up to 1 ft (0. 3 m) a day and the vine can reach more than 100 ft (30. 5 m) in a season. It usually dies back to the ground in winter and persists there as a (sometimes) huge tuber which provides the energy to regrow very rapidly the following spring.
Toxic:
  • No
Plant Perks:
  • Fragrant
  • Easy to Grow/Ideal for Children
Propagation: By seeds and by rhizomes (but don't do it! )
Native to: Eastern asia, probably to china originally. Some authorities believe it was introduced into japan centuries ago. It was intentionally released into the southeastern united states in 1876 as an ornamental, then planted extensively for erosion control and livestock forage. Today it occurs throughout the southeastern us at least as far north as ohio and connecticut, and in many others parts of the world, including south america and south africa. In most places kudzu vine is detested as a serious pest that smothers native vegetation including even tall trees. Look for kudzu along roads in the southeast where it covers fences, telephone poles, bushes, trees, and even abandoned houses, with an otherworldly cloak of suffocating greenery.
Notes for Identification: Kudzu vine is an extremely aggressive weed that should not be intentionally cultivated in the landscape. Enjoy kudzu, if you will, where it is already growing along highways and open fields. Kudzu is cultivated in asia and is actually a semi-domesticated crop, grown mainly for its large starchy root that is used medicinally and for food. Chinese research has shown that kudzu root increases blood flow to the head. It is used as a treatment for measles and high blood pressure. American studies indicate that kudzu root extract suppresses the desire for alcohol, and it appears to be useful in treating hangovers. The japanese make a kind of tofu from the root. The leaves are nutritious, high in protein, and readily eaten by cattle, goats and sheep. In the american southeast, the vines are woven into baskets. kudzu is the most serious forest weed in the southeastern us, smothering and crushing fully mature trees. It covers more than 7 million acresthe tennessee exotic pest plant council lists kudzu as a species that is a severe threat to displace native plant communities and native species. No doubt other states seek to control its spread as well.
Located in: Climbers
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