Kudzu (Pueraria montana)

Gallery:

Common names:

Kudzu, Japanese arrowroot

Scientific Name:

Pueraria montana (syn: Pueraria montana var. lobata, Pueraria lobata)

Description:

Kudzu is a fast-growing perennial vine in the Fabaceae (pea) family. The dark green leaves alternate on the vines, have three distinct leaflets that are sometimes lobed, and are hairy on the undersides.The taproots can grow to be quite massive, and can weigh hundreds of pounds. The pea-like flowers are dark pink to purple, (sometimes red), and they are often pleasantly fragrant, like grapes. Kudzu mostly spreads vegetatively, but it also can spread by seeds that grow in brown, hairy, flattened pods.

Life cycle:

Perennial

Height of mature plants

up to 98 feet long

Flower color:

purple, red, pink

Bloom time:

July and August

Look-a-likes:

The plant grows a bit like English ivy (Hedera helix) or manroot (Marah oreganus, also called wild cucumber). However the leaves, fruits, and flowers of these plants are quite distinct. Ivy has small yellow-green flowers and dark purple berries, manroot has white flowers and green spiky cucumber-like fruits, while kudzu has purple flowers and dark brown pea-like pods.All three plants have lobed leaves, but kudzu is the only one with 3 separate leaflets.

Habitat:

Kudzu grows best in full sun, although it can also survive in shade. It prefers disturbed and well-drained soils, and can be drought tolerant once it has established.

Impacts:

Kudzu’s impacts are similar to English iy, except that it grows much more aggressively. The vines can grow up to a foot per day, and up to 30 vines can grow from a single root crown. These vines will grow over and shade out all other plants, and anything else in its path. the weight of the vines can bring down, trees, power lines, and even buildings.

Noxious Weed Listing:

Origin:

Asia and the Pacific

Links:

Oregon Noxious Weed Profile
Washington Noxious Weed Profile
Invasive.org profile
CABI Invasive Species Compendium
Global Invasive Species Database

 

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