Kudzu (Pueraria montana)

Kudzu (Photo: Lucy Hollis)

Kudzu flower (Photo: Lucy Hollis)

Kudzu is a perennial vine which is native to Asia. It has been introduced widely around the world as an ornamental garden plant, a groundcover to reduce erosion and a fodder crop to feed livestock.

Kudzu is a member of the pea family (Fabaceae). It has large leaves made up of three leaflets with fine hairs, held on a long stem. The flowers are lavender-purple and pink spikes.

Kudzu produces flat, tan coloured seed pods that can reach 7cm long. The many vines and roots originate from a root crown on the surface of the soil. As the plant ages the vines become semi-woody.

The most remarkable trait of Kudzu is the incredible length of it vines, reportedly reaching 30 metres (nearly 100 feet) in length (Global Invasive Species Database, 2017). Kudzu also grows extremely quickly, giving rise to nicknames such as ‘Mile-a-Minute’ vine.

Kudzu has been included on the list of the world’s 100 worst invasive species. (http://www.iucngisd.org/gisd/100_worst.php). It is considered extremely invasive in the southern United States, where it is smothering native vegetation and altering the habitats it invades. It is also a pest to the forestry and agriculture sectors, and a threat to infrastructure such as buildings and power lines and poles.

In Bermuda, Kudzu is limited to a few isolated sites, where control measures have kept it at bay, but it remains difficult to fully eradicate. The largest affected area can be seen to the south of the railway trail at Grape Bay Drive in Paget.


Information Source

Global Invasive Species Database (2017) Species profile: Pueraria montana var. lobata. Downloaded from www.iucngisd.org/gisd/speciesname/Pueraria+montana+var.+lobata on March 10th, 2017