kudzu

Fabales > Fabaceae > Pueraria montana (Lour.) Merr.

Kudzu is a climbing, deciduous vine capable of reaching lengths of over 100 ft. (30.5 m). Leaves are alternate, compound (with three, usually lobed, leaflets), hairy and up to 5.4 in. (15 cm) long. Flowering occurs in midsummer, when 0.5 in. (1.3 cm) long, purple, fragrant flowers hang, in clusters, in the axils of the leaves. Fruit are brown, hairy, flat, 3 in. (7.6 cm) long, 0.3 in. (0.8 cm) wide seed pods. Preferred habitat includes open, disturbed areas such as roadsides, right-of-ways, forest edges and old fields. Kudzu often grows over, smothers and kills all other vegetation, including trees. Kudzu is native to Asia and was first introduced into the United States in 1876 at the Philadelphia Centennial Exposition. It was widely planted throughout the eastern United States in an attempt to control erosion.


Identification, Biology, Control and Management Resources

  • Weeds of the Week - USDA Forest Service, Northeastern Area, Forest Health Protection

Selected Images from Invasive.org

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Foliage; An invasive plant in the South
Ronald F. Billings, Texas Forest Service, Bugwood.org
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Foliage; October
James H. Miller, USDA Forest Service, Bugwood.org
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Feature(s); Sprouts developing at root crowns in April following a winter burn. Dooly County Georgia
David J. Moorhead, University of Georgia, Bugwood.org
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Feature(s); Golden hairy young vines and silvery backside of leaflet in July
James H. Miller, USDA Forest Service, Bugwood.org
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Stand; resprouting from root crown after fire
David J. Moorhead, University of Georgia, Bugwood.org
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Stand; resprouting from root crown after fire
David J. Moorhead, University of Georgia, Bugwood.org
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Seedling(s);
Nancy Fraley, USDI National Park Service, Bugwood.org
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Bark; November
James H. Miller, USDA Forest Service, Bugwood.org
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Flower(s);
David J. Moorhead, University of Georgia, Bugwood.org
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Flower(s); in September
Chuck Bargeron, University of Georgia, Bugwood.org
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Flower(s);
Forest & Kim Starr, U.S. Geological Survey, Bugwood.org
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Flower(s); flowers habit with ridge
Forest & Kim Starr, U.S. Geological Survey, Bugwood.org
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Fruit(s); November
Ted Bodner, Southern Weed Science Society, Bugwood.org
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Seed(s);
Steve Hurst, USDA NRCS PLANTS Database, Bugwood.org
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Feature(s); tuberous root
Forest & Kim Starr, U.S. Geological Survey, Bugwood.org
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Infestation; invading a cotton field
David J. Moorhead, University of Georgia, Bugwood.org
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Plant(s); infestation, SC
Robert L. Anderson, USDA Forest Service, Bugwood.org
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Infestation;
David J. Moorhead, University of Georgia, Bugwood.org
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Infestation;
Johnny Randall, North Carolina Botanical Garden, Bugwood.org
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Infestation; Covering a house
Chris Evans, River to River CWMA, Bugwood.org
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Infestation;
Charles T. Bryson, USDA Agricultural Research Service, Bugwood.org
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Infestation; Tift County, GA
Chris Evans, River to River CWMA, Bugwood.org
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Infestation; Completely covering a road cut-through. Floyd County, KY.
Chris Evans, River to River CWMA, Bugwood.org
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Infestation; Covering an old house in the South.
Jerry Asher, USDI Bureau of Land Management, Bugwood.org
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Plant(s); Stop Kudzu! Brookside Gardens
Jil M. Swearingen, USDI National Park Service, Bugwood.org
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Damage; Kudzu kills trees by shading them and spreads inexorably, mostly through soil movement and vegetative growth
Kerry Britton, USDA Forest Service, Bugwood.org
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Infestation; Winter photo. Travelers Rest, SC.
Randy Cyr, GREENTREE Technologies, Bugwood.org
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Infestation; Winter scene of vines draped in tree crowns. Macon, Georgia
David J. Moorhead, University of Georgia, Bugwood.org
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Infestation;
John D. Byrd, Mississippi State University, Bugwood.org
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Control; Aerial herbicide application
John D. Byrd, Mississippi State University, Bugwood.org
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Control; Broadcast treatment of herbicide spray to kudzu.
James H. Miller, USDA Forest Service, Bugwood.org
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Infestation;
John D. Byrd, Mississippi State University, Bugwood.org
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Research; cattle grazing on field interplanted with caley pear to extend grazing in 1949
USDA NRCS Archive, USDA NRCS, Bugwood.org
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Research; four years after planted on eroded field in 1939
USDA NRCS Archive, USDA NRCS, Bugwood.org
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Research; pigs grazing on field
USDA NRCS Archive, USDA NRCS, Bugwood.org
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Invasive Reference(s):

Check Invasive.org for most current lists.
  • Alabama - IPC List
  • Connecticut - Noxious Weed Law
  • Florida - EPPC list
  • Georgia - EPPC list
  • Illinois - Noxious Weed Law
  • Kansas - Noxious Weed Law
  • Kentucky - EPPC List
  • Kentucky - Noxious Weed Law
  • Massachusetts - Noxious Weed Law
  • Mississippi - Noxious Weed Law
  • Mississippi - 10 Worst Invasive Weeds
  • Missouri - Noxious Weed Law
  • Oregon - Noxious Weed Law
  • Pennsylvania - Noxious Weed Law
  • South Carolina - EPPC List
  • Tennessee - EPPC List
  • Texas - Noxious Weed Law
  • Texas - Invasive Plant List
  • Virginia - Invasive Alien Plant Species
  • Washington - Noxious Weed Law
  • West Virginia - Noxious Weed Law
  • Mid-Atlantic - EPPC List
  • Invasive Plants: Guide to Identification and the Impacts and Control of Common North American Species
  • Invasive Plants of the Upper Midwest
  • Invasive Plant Atlas of New England
  • Invasive Plant Atlas of the Mid-South
  • Midwest Invasive Plant Network


External Links


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USDA Forest Service Bugwood University of Georgia