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Kudzu

Pueraria montana (Lour.) Merr.
Kudzu Kudzu
James H. Miller, USDA Forest Service

 

Commodities Affected:
Forestry and Natural Areas

 

Threat:

Kudzu kills or degrades other plants by smothering them under a solid blanket of leaves, by girdling woody stems and tree trunks, and by breaking branches or uprooting entire trees and shrubs through the sheer force of its weight. Once established, kudzu plants grow rapidly, extending as much as 60 feet per season at a rate of about one foot per day. This vigorous vine may extend 32-100 feet in length, with stems 1/2 - 4 inches in diameter. Kudzu roots are fleshy, with massive tap roots 7 inches or more in diameter, 6 feet or more in length, and weighing as much as 400 pounds. Its pea-like flowers are arranged in a raceme and are purple with a distinctive yellow spot at the base of its large petal (banner).  Flowering may not be evident, being hidden in the plants foliage.  As many as thirty vines may grow from a single root crown. Note – do not buy, sell, or plant kudzu.

 

Distribution:

Kudzu is known to occur in 35 counties; in all, there are 102 sites totaling 100.65 acres of kudzu. The following counties contain kudzu: Brown, Clark, Clay, Crawford, Dubois, Elkhart, Floyd, Gibson, Greene, Harrison, Hendricks, Howard, Jackson, Jefferson, Jennings, Johnson, La Porte, Lawrence, Martin, Monroe, Morgan, Orange, Owen, Parke, Perry, Pike, Posey, Ripley, Scott, Spencer, Sullivan, Vanderburgh, Vigo, Warrick, and Washington.