Like most Southern children, I accepted, almost as a matter of faith, that kudzu grew a mile a minute and that its spread was unstoppable. It appeared not to stop because there were no grazers to eat it back. In addition, Kudzu’s large dark green leaves make a picturesque covereing for rough roadbanks and hillsides along Mississippi’s pa… These roots are hard to dig out completely. of Georgia (left) Kudzu is a perennial vine hailing from the pea family. Uses for Kudzu Plants. Revegetation of sites following treatment is an important last step to ensure that any residual kudzu does not reestablish. The Latin scientific name for Kudzu, or the kudzu vine, is Pueraria lobata or Pueraria thunbergiana.See the related link(s) listed below for more information: Where did kudzu come from? A recent study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences reports that while vulnerable species are primarily in the Southeast, most lands protected as federal and state parks are in the West. 7: 165-169. Some discovered a kind of perverse pleasure in its rank growth, as it promised to engulf the abandoned farms, houses and junkyards people couldn’t bear to look at anymore. Introduced in the late nineteenth century from Asia, it now covers more than a quarter million acres in Alabama and more than seven million acres in other southeastern states, swallowing up abandoned buildings and farms. What helps Kudzu to thrive is its root system that forms very deep in the soil. It was an invasive that grew best in the landscape modern Southerners were most familiar with—the roadsides framed in their car windows. Kudzu leaf and flower There is a spot of yellow on each stem of flowers. In 1998, Congress officially listed kudzu under the Federal Noxious Weed Act. It grows quickly over other small plants, trees, and on to structures like telephone poles. But somehow they hopped a ride across an ocean and ended up in Georgia in 2009. Vote Now! In news media and scientific accounts and on some government websites, kudzu is typically said to cover seven million to nine million acres across the United States. Introduced from Asia in the late 19th century as a garden novelty, but not widely planted until the 1930s, kudzu is now America’s most infamous weed. Native Range: Kudzu is found throughout Asia, including China, Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam. Many historians believe it was the persuasive power of a popular radio host and Atlanta Constitution columnist named Channing Cope that finally got those seedlings in the ground. Other names: Kudzu, Pueraria montana Where did it come from? Kudzu monocultures typically contain thousands of individual plants per acre . Only vines more than a yard above the ground in full sun will flower in late summer, and few fruiting pods develop viable seeds. Photo credit: DJ Moorhead/Univ. The vines can grow up and over almost any structure and literally covers objects with its fast-growing vegetation. As trees grew in the cleared lands near roadsides, kudzu rose with them. Now that scientists at last are attaching real numbers to the threat of kudzu, it’s becoming clear that most of what people think about kudzu is wrong. Farmers still couldn’t find a way to make money from the crop. By Sandra Avant July 13, 2016 . Revegetation of sites following treatment is an important last step to ensure that any residual kudzu does not reestablish. It’s related to five species in the genus Pueraria (P. montana, P. lobata, P. edulis, P. phaseoloides and P. thomsoni). Advertising Notice Control can be accomplished by persistent applications of effecti We use cookies to enhance your experience on our website.By continuing to use our website, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Kudzu is an ongoing natural disaster that defies containment. Kudzu Origin Kudzu was introduced from Japan to the United States at the Philadelphia Centennial Exposition in 1876 as an ornamental and a forage crop plant. Citation: Miller, James H.; Edwards, Boyd. The vine densely climbs over other plants and trees and grows so rapidly that it smothers and kills them by heavily blocking sunlight. Kudzu - or kuzu (クズ) - is native to Japan and southeast China. Kudzu is native to Asia, particularly China, Japan and Korea, and has been used in Eastern medicine for centuries. Keep up-to-date on: © 2020 Smithsonian Magazine. Though “not terribly worried” about the threat of kudzu, Loewenstein calls it “a good poster child” for the impact of invasive species precisely because it has been so visible to so many. But scientists reassessing kudzu’s spread have found that it’s nothing like that. Control can be accomplished by persistent applications of effecti We use cookies to enhance your experience on our website.By continuing to use our website, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Origin and Distribution A native of Asia, kudzu was introduced into the United States at the Philadelphia Centennial Exposition in 1876. 17th Annual Photo Contest Finalists Announced. Kudzu can be controlled with glyphosate but it may take several years of … Cookie Policy Southern Journal of Applied Forestry. And because it looked as if it covered everything in sight, few people realized that the vine often fizzled out just behind that roadside screen of green. All land owners in an infestation area must coopera… Nothing seems to stop it. Kudzu was introduced into gardens in the early 1900s and was later used for forage. Kudzu is spreading in the South and control measures are required on large acreages. Present: AL, AR, DE, FL, GA, HI, IA, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MA, MO, MD, MS, NC, NE, NJ, NY, OH, OK, OR, PA, RI, SC, TN, TX, VA, WA, WV For a CAPS/CERIS/USDA map of past/presen… Charles and Lillie Pleas were like many homesteaders when they dropped kudzu around their house in Chipley, Fla., in the early 1900s, … or Plant Control:Mature patches of Kudzu can be difficult to contain let alone control. And how can we stop it?. Thirty years younger 1983. www.forestryimages.org. The U.S. government did its best to spread kudzu throughout the South. So if the all-consuming-kudzu myth is wrong, where did it come from? As with most aggressive exotic species, eradication requires persistence in monitoring and thoroughness in treating patches during a multi-year program. Apply a second dose of herbicide in late summer. Here are a few kudzu bug characteristics: Julia Tyler (1820-1889) was an American first lady (1844-1845) and the second wife of John Tyler, the 10th president of the United States. Give a Gift. Kudzu was introduced to the United States in 1876 at the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The more I investigate, the more I recognize that kudzu’s place in the popular imagination reveals as much about the power of American mythmaking, and the distorted way we see the natural world, as it does about the vine’s threat to the countryside. For the generations of writers who followed, many no longer intimately connected to the land, kudzu served as a shorthand for describing the Southern landscape and experience, a ready way of identifying the place, the writer, the effort as genuinely Southern. In the 1930s and 40s, with the country in the throes of the Great Depression and aftermath of the Dust Bowl, kudzu … Kudzu is a fast-growing vine native to the subtropical regions of China and Japan, as well as some other Pacific islands.1, 2 The plant consists of leaves (containing 3 broad oval leaflets), purple flowers, and curling tendril spikes.3, 4 Because the stem grows up to 20 m in length and due to its extensive root system, kudzu has been used to control soil erosion. Cut the Vines. Imported from Japan in the 19th century, promoted by the Soil Conservation Service to stem soil erosion, kudzu morphed in a few decades from an … Kudzu (Pueraria lobata; formerly P. thunbergiana) is a prolific vine that was introduced to Georgia and other southern states during the latter half of the nineteenth century. This has earned it the nickname "the vine that ate the South". I’d walk an extra mile to avoid patches of it and the writhing knots of snakes that everyone said were breeding within. These roots are hard to dig out completely. Spray the herbicide onto kudzu in spring when it is most vulnerable after winter dormancy. Kudzu originally was introduced into the U.S. from Asia in the late 1800s for erosion control and as a livestock forage. 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