Home      Discussion      Topics      Dictionary      Almanac
Signup       Login
Kudzu

Kudzu

Overview
Kudzu is a plant in the genus Pueraria
Pueraria
Pueraria is a genus of 15–20 species of plants native to Asia.The genus is polyphyletic, with different species being related to species in Glycine , Amphicarpaea, Nogra, Teyleria, Neonotonia, Pseudovigna, Pseudeminia, Pachyrhizus , and other genera of the tribe Phaseoleae.- Species :The...

in the pea
Pea
A pea is most commonly the small spherical seed or the seed-pod of the pod fruit Pisum sativum. Each pod contains several peas. Peapods are botanically a fruit, since they contain seeds developed from the ovary of a flower. However, peas are considered to be a vegetable in cooking...

 family Fabaceae
Fabaceae
The Fabaceae or Leguminosae, commonly known as the legume, pea, or bean family, is a large and economically important family of flowering plants. The group is the third largest land plant family, behind only the Orchidaceae and Asteraceae, with 730 genera and over 19,400 species...

, subfamily Faboideae
Faboideae
Faboideae is a subfamily of the flowering plant family Fabaceae or Leguminosae. One acceptable alternative name for the subfamily is Papilionoideae....

. It is a climbing, coiling, and trailing vine
Vine
A vine in the narrowest sense is the grapevine , but more generally it can refer to any plant with a growth habit of trailing or scandent, that is to say climbing, stems or runners...

 native to southern Japan and southeast China
East China
East China is a geographical and a loosely-defined cultural region that covers the eastern coastal area of China.Although an intangible and loosely defined concept, for administrative and governmental purposes, the region is defined by the government of the People's Republic of China to include...

. Its name comes from the Japanese name
Japanese language
is a language spoken by over 130 million people in Japan and in Japanese emigrant communities. It is a member of the Japonic language family, which has a number of proposed relationships with other languages, none of which has gained wide acceptance among historical linguists .Japanese is an...

 for the plant, . It is a weed that climbs over trees or shrubs and grows so rapidly that it kills them by heavy shading. The plant is edible, but often sprayed with herbicides..


Five species in the genus Pueraria
Pueraria
Pueraria is a genus of 15–20 species of plants native to Asia.The genus is polyphyletic, with different species being related to species in Glycine , Amphicarpaea, Nogra, Teyleria, Neonotonia, Pseudovigna, Pseudeminia, Pachyrhizus , and other genera of the tribe Phaseoleae.- Species :The...

are closely related and the name kudzu describes one or more of them.
Discussion
Ask a question about 'Kudzu'
Start a new discussion about 'Kudzu'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
 
Unanswered Questions
Recent Discussions
Encyclopedia
Kudzu is a plant in the genus Pueraria
Pueraria
Pueraria is a genus of 15–20 species of plants native to Asia.The genus is polyphyletic, with different species being related to species in Glycine , Amphicarpaea, Nogra, Teyleria, Neonotonia, Pseudovigna, Pseudeminia, Pachyrhizus , and other genera of the tribe Phaseoleae.- Species :The...

in the pea
Pea
A pea is most commonly the small spherical seed or the seed-pod of the pod fruit Pisum sativum. Each pod contains several peas. Peapods are botanically a fruit, since they contain seeds developed from the ovary of a flower. However, peas are considered to be a vegetable in cooking...

 family Fabaceae
Fabaceae
The Fabaceae or Leguminosae, commonly known as the legume, pea, or bean family, is a large and economically important family of flowering plants. The group is the third largest land plant family, behind only the Orchidaceae and Asteraceae, with 730 genera and over 19,400 species...

, subfamily Faboideae
Faboideae
Faboideae is a subfamily of the flowering plant family Fabaceae or Leguminosae. One acceptable alternative name for the subfamily is Papilionoideae....

. It is a climbing, coiling, and trailing vine
Vine
A vine in the narrowest sense is the grapevine , but more generally it can refer to any plant with a growth habit of trailing or scandent, that is to say climbing, stems or runners...

 native to southern Japan and southeast China
East China
East China is a geographical and a loosely-defined cultural region that covers the eastern coastal area of China.Although an intangible and loosely defined concept, for administrative and governmental purposes, the region is defined by the government of the People's Republic of China to include...

. Its name comes from the Japanese name
Japanese language
is a language spoken by over 130 million people in Japan and in Japanese emigrant communities. It is a member of the Japonic language family, which has a number of proposed relationships with other languages, none of which has gained wide acceptance among historical linguists .Japanese is an...

 for the plant, . It is a weed that climbs over trees or shrubs and grows so rapidly that it kills them by heavy shading. The plant is edible, but often sprayed with herbicides..

Taxonomy and nomenclature



Five species in the genus Pueraria
Pueraria
Pueraria is a genus of 15–20 species of plants native to Asia.The genus is polyphyletic, with different species being related to species in Glycine , Amphicarpaea, Nogra, Teyleria, Neonotonia, Pseudovigna, Pseudeminia, Pachyrhizus , and other genera of the tribe Phaseoleae.- Species :The...

are closely related and the name kudzu describes one or more of them. They are P. montana, P. lobata, P. edulis, P. phaseoloides and P. thomsoni. The morphological differences between the five species are subtle, they can breed with each other, and it appears that introduced kudzu populations in the United States have ancestry from more than one of the species. The name Pueraria thunbergiana is a synonym for Pueraria montana var. lobata. P. tuberosa
Pueraria tuberosa
-Description:Pueraria tuberosa, commonly known as kudzu, Indian kudzu, or Nepalese kudzu, is a climber with woody tuberculated stem. It is a climbing, coiling and trailing vine with large tuberous roots. The tubers are globose or pot-like, about across and the insides are white, starchy and mildly...

, a species from the Indian subcontinent, is also known as kudzu.

Propagation


Kudzu spreads
Plant propagation
Plant propagation is the process of creating new plants from a variety of sources: seeds, cuttings, bulbs and other plant parts. Plant propagation can also refer to the artificial or natural dispersal of plants.-Sexual propagation :...

 by vegetative expansion, via stolon
Stolon
In biology, stolons are horizontal connections between organisms. They may be part of the organism, or of its skeleton; typically, animal stolons are external skeletons.-In botany:...

s (runners) that root
Root
In vascular plants, the root is the organ of a plant that typically lies below the surface of the soil. This is not always the case, however, since a root can also be aerial or aerating . Furthermore, a stem normally occurring below ground is not exceptional either...

 at the nodes to form new plants and by rhizome
Rhizome
In botany and dendrology, a rhizome is a characteristically horizontal stem of a plant that is usually found underground, often sending out roots and shoots from its nodes...

s. Kudzu will also spread by seed
Seed
A seed is a small embryonic plant enclosed in a covering called the seed coat, usually with some stored food. It is the product of the ripened ovule of gymnosperm and angiosperm plants which occurs after fertilization and some growth within the mother plant...

s, which are contained in pods and mature in the autumn, although this is rare. One or two viable seeds are produced per cluster of pods. The hard-coated seeds may not germinate for several years, which can result in the reappearance of the species years after it was thought eradicated at a site.

Basketry



Vines have been used for centuries in the creation of fiber art - particularly basketry and clothing. Some of the oldest archeological sites in southeast Asia include kudzu fiber clothing and basketry. Today, contemporary artists use kudzu for basketry and fiber art. Their work varies in technique and style. Kudzu vine is very easy to use for basketry purposes because of its ability to be split, dried and stored until the weaver is ready to use it. Once it's soaked in warm water and flattened, the vine is ready to be used. Both 'runners' and the larger vines that grow in trees can be used for basketry depending on the style and size of the basket you may want to make.

Soil improvement and preservation


Kudzu has been used as a form of erosion control
Erosion control
Erosion control is the practice of preventing or controlling wind or water erosion in agriculture, land development and construction. Effective erosion controls are important techniques in preventing water pollution and soil loss.-Introduction:...

 and also to enhance the soil
Soil
Soil is a natural body consisting of layers of mineral constituents of variable thicknesses, which differ from the parent materials in their morphological, physical, chemical, and mineralogical characteristics...

. As a legume, it increases the nitrogen
Nitrogen
Nitrogen is a chemical element that has the symbol N, atomic number of 7 and atomic mass 14.00674 u. Elemental nitrogen is a colorless, odorless, tasteless, and mostly inert diatomic gas at standard conditions, constituting 78.08% by volume of Earth's atmosphere...

 in the soil via a symbiotic relationship with nitrogen-fixing bacteria
Bacteria
Bacteria are a large domain of prokaryotic microorganisms. Typically a few micrometres in length, bacteria have a wide range of shapes, ranging from spheres to rods and spirals...

. Its deep taproot
Taproot
A taproot is an enlarged, somewhat straight to tapering plant root that grows vertically downward. It forms a center from which other roots sprout laterally.Plants with taproots are difficult to transplant...

s also transfer valuable mineral
Mineral
A mineral is a naturally occurring solid chemical substance formed through biogeochemical processes, having characteristic chemical composition, highly ordered atomic structure, and specific physical properties. By comparison, a rock is an aggregate of minerals and/or mineraloids and does not...

s from the subsoil
Subsoil
Subsoil, or substrata, is the layer of soil under the topsoil on the surface of the ground. The subsoil may include substances such as clay and/or sand that has only been partially broken down by air, sunlight, water, wind etc., to produce true soil...

 to the topsoil
Topsoil
Topsoil is the upper, outermost layer of soil, usually the top to . It has the highest concentration of organic matter and microorganisms and is where most of the Earth's biological soil activity occurs.-Importance:...

, thereby improving the topsoil. In the deforested section of the central Amazon Basin
Amazon Basin
The Amazon Basin is the part of South America drained by the Amazon River and its tributaries that drains an area of about , or roughly 40 percent of South America. The basin is located in the countries of Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru, and Venezuela...

 in Brazil
Brazil
Brazil , officially the Federative Republic of Brazil , is the largest country in South America. It is the world's fifth largest country, both by geographical area and by population with over 192 million people...

, it has been used for improving the soil pore-space in clay
Clay
Clay is a general term including many combinations of one or more clay minerals with traces of metal oxides and organic matter. Geologic clay deposits are mostly composed of phyllosilicate minerals containing variable amounts of water trapped in the mineral structure.- Formation :Clay minerals...

 latosols, and thus freeing even more water
Water
Water is a chemical substance with the chemical formula H2O. A water molecule contains one oxygen and two hydrogen atoms connected by covalent bonds. Water is a liquid at ambient conditions, but it often co-exists on Earth with its solid state, ice, and gaseous state . Water also exists in a...

 for plants than in the soil prior to deforestation
Deforestation
Deforestation is the removal of a forest or stand of trees where the land is thereafter converted to a nonforest use. Examples of deforestation include conversion of forestland to farms, ranches, or urban use....

.

Animal feed


Kudzu can be used by grazing animals as it is high in quality as a forage
Fodder
Fodder or animal feed is any agricultural foodstuff used specifically to feed domesticated livestock such as cattle, goats, sheep, horses, chickens and pigs. Most animal feed is from plants but some is of animal origin...

 and palatable to livestock
Livestock
Livestock refers to one or more domesticated animals raised in an agricultural setting to produce commodities such as food, fiber and labor. The term "livestock" as used in this article does not include poultry or farmed fish; however the inclusion of these, especially poultry, within the meaning...

. It can be grazed until frost
Frost
Frost is the solid deposition of water vapor from saturated air. It is formed when solid surfaces are cooled to below the dew point of the adjacent air as well as below the freezing point of water. Frost crystals' size differ depending on time and water vapour available. Frost is also usually...

 and even slightly after. Kudzu had been used in the southern United States specifically to feed goats on land that had limited resources. Kudzu hay
Hay
Hay is grass, legumes or other herbaceous plants that have been cut, dried, and stored for use as animal fodder, particularly for grazing livestock such as cattle, horses, goats, and sheep. Hay is also fed to pets such as rabbits and guinea pigs...

 typically has a 15–18% crude protein content and over 60% total digestible nutrient value. The quality of the leaves decrease, however, as vine
Vine
A vine in the narrowest sense is the grapevine , but more generally it can refer to any plant with a growth habit of trailing or scandent, that is to say climbing, stems or runners...

 content increases relative to the leaf
Leaf
A leaf is an organ of a vascular plant, as defined in botanical terms, and in particular in plant morphology. Foliage is a mass noun that refers to leaves as a feature of plants....

 content. Kudzu also has low forage yields despite its great deal of growth
Cell growth
The term cell growth is used in the contexts of cell development and cell division . When used in the context of cell division, it refers to growth of cell populations, where one cell grows and divides to produce two "daughter cells"...

, yielding around two to four tons of dry matter per acre
Acre
The acre is a unit of area in a number of different systems, including the imperial and U.S. customary systems. The most commonly used acres today are the international acre and, in the United States, the survey acre. The most common use of the acre is to measure tracts of land.The acre is related...

 annually. It is also difficult to bale due to its vining growth and its slowness in shedding water
Water
Water is a chemical substance with the chemical formula H2O. A water molecule contains one oxygen and two hydrogen atoms connected by covalent bonds. Water is a liquid at ambient conditions, but it often co-exists on Earth with its solid state, ice, and gaseous state . Water also exists in a...

. This makes it necessary to place kudzu hay under sheltered protection after being baled. Kudzu is readily consumed by all types of grazing animals, yet frequent grazing over 3 to 4 years can ruin stands. Thus kudzu only serves well as a grazing crop on a temporary basis.

Medicine



The Harvard Medical School is studying kudzu as a possible way to treat alcoholic cravings, by turning an extracted compound from the herb into a medical drug. The mechanism for this is not yet established, but it may have to do with both alcohol metabolism
Metabolism
Metabolism is the set of chemical reactions that happen in the cells of living organisms to sustain life. These processes allow organisms to grow and reproduce, maintain their structures, and respond to their environments. Metabolism is usually divided into two categories...

 and the reward circuits in the brain.

Kudzu also contains a number of useful isoflavones, including daidzein
Daidzein
Daidzein belongs to the group of isoflavones. Daidzein and other isoflavone compounds, such as genistein, are present in a number of plants and herbs like the Thai Kwao Krua or Pueraria mirifica, Kudzu or Pueraria lobata, and in food sources such as soybeans and soy products like tofu and textured...

 (an anti-inflammatory
Anti-inflammatory
Anti-inflammatory refers to the property of a substance or treatment that reduces inflammation. Anti-inflammatory drugs make up about half of analgesics, remedying pain by reducing inflammation as opposed to opioids, which affect the central nervous system....

 and antimicrobial
Antimicrobial
An anti-microbial is a substance that kills or inhibits the growth of microorganisms such as bacteria, fungi, or protozoans. Antimicrobial drugs either kill microbes or prevent the growth of microbes...

 agent) and daidzin
Daidzin
Daidzin is a natural organic compound in the class of phytochemicals known as isoflavones. Daidzin can be found in Japanese plant Kudzu and from soybean leaves.Daidzin is the 7-O-glucoside of daidzein....

 (structurally related to genistein
Genistein
Genistein is one of several known isoflavones. Isoflavones, such as genistein and daidzein, are found in a number of plants including lupin, fava beans, soybeans, kudzu, and psoralea being the primary food source, also in the medicinal plant, Flemingia vestita and coffee Besides functioning as...

, an antileukemic
Leukemia
Leukemia or leukaemia is a type of cancer of the blood or bone marrow characterized by an abnormal increase of immature white blood cells called "blasts". Leukemia is a broad term covering a spectrum of diseases...

 agent). Kudzu is a unique source of the isoflavone
Isoflavone
Isoflavones comprise a class of organic compounds, often naturally occurring, related to the isoflavonoids. Many act as phytoestrogens in mammals...

 puerarin
Puerarin
Puerarin is one of several known isoflavones. Puerarin is found in a number of plants and herbs like the root of Pueraria notably of the kudzu plant.Puerarin is the 8-C-glucoside of daidzein....

. Kudzu root compounds can affect neurotransmitter
Neurotransmitter
Neurotransmitters are endogenous chemicals that transmit signals from a neuron to a target cell across a synapse. Neurotransmitters are packaged into synaptic vesicles clustered beneath the membrane on the presynaptic side of a synapse, and are released into the synaptic cleft, where they bind to...

s (including serotonin
Serotonin
Serotonin or 5-hydroxytryptamine is a monoamine neurotransmitter. Biochemically derived from tryptophan, serotonin is primarily found in the gastrointestinal tract, platelets, and in the central nervous system of animals including humans...

, GABA
Gabâ
Gabâ or gabaa, for the people in many parts of the Philippines), is the concept of a non-human and non-divine, imminent retribution. A sort of negative karma, it is generally seen as an evil effect on a person because of their wrongdoings or transgressions...

, and glutamate). It has shown value in treating migraine
Migraine
Migraine is a chronic neurological disorder characterized by moderate to severe headaches, and nausea...

 and cluster headache
Cluster headache
Cluster headache, nicknamed "suicide headache", is a neurological disease that involves, as its most prominent feature, an immense degree of pain in the head. Cluster headaches occur periodically: spontaneous remissions interrupt active periods of pain. The cause of the disease is currently unknown...

s. It is recommended by some for allergies and diarrhea.

Research in mice models suggests that kudzu is beneficial in women for control of some postmenopausal symptoms, such as hypertension and diabetes type II.

In traditional Chinese medicine
Traditional Chinese medicine
Traditional Chinese Medicine refers to a broad range of medicine practices sharing common theoretical concepts which have been developed in China and are based on a tradition of more than 2,000 years, including various forms of herbal medicine, acupuncture, massage , exercise , and dietary therapy...

(TCM), where it is known as gé gēn , kudzu is considered one of the 50 fundamental herbs. It is used to treat tinnitus
Tinnitus
Tinnitus |ringing]]") is the perception of sound within the human ear in the absence of corresponding external sound.Tinnitus is not a disease, but a symptom that can result from a wide range of underlying causes: abnormally loud sounds in the ear canal for even the briefest period , ear...

, vertigo
Vertigo
Vertigo is a form of dizziness.Vertigo may also refer to:* Vertigo , a 1958 film by Alfred Hitchcock**Vertigo , its soundtrack** Vertigo effect, or Dolly zoom, a special effect in film, named after the movie...

, and Wei syndrome (superficial heat).

Kudzu has traditionally been used as a remedy for alcoholism and hangover in China. The root was used to prevent excessive consumption, while the flower was supposed to detoxify the liver and alleviate the symptoms afterwards. Some TCM hangover remedies are marketed with kudzu as one of their active ingredients. This has also been a common use in areas of the Southeastern United States.

It has also shown potential in animal models of Alzheimer's disease
Alzheimer's disease
Alzheimer's disease also known in medical literature as Alzheimer disease is the most common form of dementia. There is no cure for the disease, which worsens as it progresses, and eventually leads to death...

.

It may help diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Food uses



The roots contain starch
Starch
Starch or amylum is a carbohydrate consisting of a large number of glucose units joined together by glycosidic bonds. This polysaccharide is produced by all green plants as an energy store...

, which has traditionally been used as a food ingredient in East Asia.

In Japan
Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

, the plant is known as kuzu and the starch named kuzuko
Kuzuko
is a starch powder made from the root of the kudzu plant.It is traditionally used in Japanese cuisine to thicken sauces and jellies, to make various noodlelike foods, and to make chilled desserts.Dishes that use kuzuko include:...

. Kuzuko
Kuzuko
is a starch powder made from the root of the kudzu plant.It is traditionally used in Japanese cuisine to thicken sauces and jellies, to make various noodlelike foods, and to make chilled desserts.Dishes that use kuzuko include:...

 is used as in dishes including kuzumochi
Kuzumochi
are mochi cakes made of kuzuko. It is traditionally served chilled, topped with kuromitsu and kinako.-Sources:* May 30, 2008.* Setsuko Yoshizuka, About.com Guide. August 21, 2009....

, mizu manjū
Manju
Manju is a Sanskrit word with following associated meanings - pleasant, sweet, snow, beautiful, Lord Shiva's name, clouds, morning dew and is predominantly an Indian male/female/given name.Manju, means a language of clouds.That is Rain...

, and kuzuyu
Kuzuyu
Kuzuyu is a sweet Japanese beverage produced by adding kudzu flour to hot water. It has a thick honey-like texture, and in color it appears pale and somewhat translucent. It is served in a mug or tea bowl. Kuzuyu is traditionally served as a hot dessert drink in the winter months.-Name:In...

.

In Vietnam
Vietnam
Vietnam – sometimes spelled Viet Nam , officially the Socialist Republic of Vietnam – is the easternmost country on the Indochina Peninsula in Southeast Asia. It is bordered by China to the north, Laos to the northwest, Cambodia to the southwest, and the South China Sea –...

, the starch called bột sắn dây is flavoured with pomelo
Pomelo
The pomelo is a citrus fruit native to Southeast Asia. It is usually pale green to yellow when ripe, with sweet white flesh and very thick albedo . It is the largest citrus fruit, 15–25 cm in diameter, and usually weighing 1–2 kg...

 oil and then used as a drink in the summer.

Kudzu is called gé gēn in China, where it is cooked and eaten.

The flowers are used to make a jelly.

Roots, flowers, and leaves of Kudzu show antioxidant activity that suggests food uses.

Other uses


In the Southern United States
Southern United States
The Southern United States—commonly referred to as the American South, Dixie, or simply the South—constitutes a large distinctive area in the southeastern and south-central United States...

, kudzu is used to make soap
Soap
In chemistry, soap is a salt of a fatty acid.IUPAC. "" Compendium of Chemical Terminology, 2nd ed. . Compiled by A. D. McNaught and A. Wilkinson. Blackwell Scientific Publications, Oxford . XML on-line corrected version: created by M. Nic, J. Jirat, B. Kosata; updates compiled by A. Jenkins. ISBN...

s, lotion
Lotion
A lotion is a low- to medium-viscosity, topical preparation intended for application to unbroken skin. By contrast, creams and gels have higher viscosity.Lotions are usually applied to external skin with bare hands, a clean cloth, cotton wool or gauze...

s, and compost
Compost
Compost is organic matter that has been decomposed and recycled as a fertilizer and soil amendment. Compost is a key ingredient in organic farming. At its most essential, the process of composting requires simply piling up waste outdoors and waiting for the materials to break down from anywhere...

. In Japan, kudzu powder is used to make a sort of herbal tea called kuzuyu
Kuzuyu
Kuzuyu is a sweet Japanese beverage produced by adding kudzu flour to hot water. It has a thick honey-like texture, and in color it appears pale and somewhat translucent. It is served in a mug or tea bowl. Kuzuyu is traditionally served as a hot dessert drink in the winter months.-Name:In...

. It has even been suggested that kudzu may become a valuable asset for the production of cellulosic ethanol
Cellulosic ethanol
Cellulosic ethanol is a biofuel produced from wood, grasses, or the non-edible parts of plants.It is a type of biofuel produced from lignocellulose, a structural material that comprises much of the mass of plants. Lignocellulose is composed mainly of cellulose, hemicellulose and lignin...

.

The fiber is used traditionally and has also been investigated for potential uses such as clothing, wallpaper, and paper.

Kudzu has been used for centuries in East Asia to make tea, health tonics, and fibers for kimonos.

Invasive species



United States



Kudzu was introduced from Japan into the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 at the Japanese pavilion in the 1876 Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia. It is now common along roadsides and other undisturbed areas throughout most of the southeastern United States. Kudzu has been spreading at the rate of 150000 acre (60,702.9 ha) annually.

Canada


Kudzu was discovered July 2009 in a patch 110 m (360.9 ft) wide and 30 m (98.4 ft) deep, on a south-facing slope on the shore, of Lake Erie
Lake Erie
Lake Erie is the fourth largest lake of the five Great Lakes in North America, and the tenth largest globally. It is the southernmost, shallowest, and smallest by volume of the Great Lakes and therefore also has the shortest average water residence time. It is bounded on the north by the...

 near Leamington
Leamington, Ontario
Leamington is a municipality in Essex County, southern Ontario, Canada, and has a population of 31,113. It includes Point Pelee, the southernmost point of mainland Canada. It has a large H. J. Heinz Company factory and is known as the "Tomato Capital of Canada", with 4 km² of this crop in the...

, Ontario
Ontario
Ontario is a province of Canada, located in east-central Canada. It is Canada's most populous province and second largest in total area. It is home to the nation's most populous city, Toronto, and the nation's capital, Ottawa....

, about 50 km (31.1 mi) southeast of Windsor
Windsor, Ontario
Windsor is the southernmost city in Canada and is located in Southwestern Ontario at the western end of the heavily populated Quebec City – Windsor Corridor. It is within Essex County, Ontario, although administratively separated from the county government. Separated by the Detroit River, Windsor...

. Leamington is located in the second warmest growing region of Canada after south coastal British Columbia.

Ecologist Gerald Waldron made the Leamington find while walking along the beach. He spotted the kudzu instantly, having read about its destructive expansion in the southeastern United States.

Other countries


During World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, kudzu was introduced to Vanuatu
Vanuatu
Vanuatu , officially the Republic of Vanuatu , is an island nation located in the South Pacific Ocean. The archipelago, which is of volcanic origin, is some east of northern Australia, northeast of New Caledonia, west of Fiji, and southeast of the Solomon Islands, near New Guinea.Vanuatu was...

 and Fiji
Fiji
Fiji , officially the Republic of Fiji , is an island nation in Melanesia in the South Pacific Ocean about northeast of New Zealand's North Island...

 by United States Armed Forces
United States armed forces
The United States Armed Forces are the military forces of the United States. They consist of the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, and Coast Guard.The United States has a strong tradition of civilian control of the military...

 to serve as camouflage
Military camouflage
Military camouflage is one of many means of deceiving an enemy. In practice, it is the application of colour and materials to battledress and military equipment to conceal them from visual observation. The French slang word camouflage came into common English usage during World War I when the...

 for equipment. It is now a major weed.

Kudzu is also becoming a problem in northeastern Australia
Queensland
Queensland is a state of Australia, occupying the north-eastern section of the mainland continent. It is bordered by the Northern Territory, South Australia and New South Wales to the west, south-west and south respectively. To the east, Queensland is bordered by the Coral Sea and Pacific Ocean...

, and has been seen in isolated spots in Northern Italy
Northern Italy
Northern Italy is a wide cultural, historical and geographical definition, without any administrative usage, used to indicate the northern part of the Italian state, also referred as Settentrione or Alta Italia...

 (Lake Maggiore
Lake Maggiore
Lake Maggiore is a large lake located on the south side of the Alps. It is the second largest of Italy and largest of southern Switzerland. Lake Maggiore is the most westerly of the three great prealpine lakes of Italy, it extends for about 70 km between Locarno and Arona.The climate is mild...

).

Crown removal


For successful long-term control of kudzu, it is not necessary to destroy the entire root system, which can be quite large and deep. It is only necessary to use some method to kill or remove the kudzu root crown and all rooting runners. The root crown is a fibrous knob of tissue that sits on top of the root (rhizome). Crowns form from vine nodes that root to the ground, and range from pea-size to basketball-size. The older the crown, the deeper they tend to be found in the ground, because they are covered by sediment and plant debris over time. Nodes and crowns are the source of all kudzu vines, and roots cannot produce vines. If any portion of a root crown remains after attempted removal, the kudzu plant may grow back.
Mechanical methods of control involve cutting off crowns from roots, usually just below ground level. This immediately kills the plant. Cutting off vines is not sufficient for an immediate kill. It is necessary to destroy all removed crown material. Buried crowns can regenerate into healthy kudzu. Transporting crowns in soil removed from a kudzu infestation is one common way that kudzu "miraculously" spreads and shows up in unexpected locations.

Mowing


Close mowing every week, regular heavy grazing
Grazing
Grazing generally describes a type of feeding, in which a herbivore feeds on plants , and also on other multicellular autotrophs...

 for many successive years, or repeated cultivation
Tillage
Tillage is the agricultural preparation of the soil by mechanical agitation of various types, such as digging, stirring, and overturning. Examples of human-powered tilling methods using hand tools include shovelling, picking, mattock work, hoeing, and raking...

 may be effective, as this serves to deplete root reserves. If done in the spring, cutting off vines must be repeated as regrowth appears to exhaust the plant's stored carbohydrate
Carbohydrate
A carbohydrate is an organic compound with the empirical formula ; that is, consists only of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen, with a hydrogen:oxygen atom ratio of 2:1 . However, there are exceptions to this. One common example would be deoxyribose, a component of DNA, which has the empirical...

 reserves. Cut kudzu can be fed to livestock, burned, or composted; strides have been made in using it for vehicle fuel as ethanol
Ethanol
Ethanol, also called ethyl alcohol, pure alcohol, grain alcohol, or drinking alcohol, is a volatile, flammable, colorless liquid. It is a psychoactive drug and one of the oldest recreational drugs. Best known as the type of alcohol found in alcoholic beverages, it is also used in thermometers, as a...

.

Grazing


The city of Chattanooga, Tennessee
Chattanooga, Tennessee
Chattanooga is the fourth-largest city in the US state of Tennessee , with a population of 169,887. It is the seat of Hamilton County...

 has undertaken a trial program using goat
Goat
The domestic goat is a subspecies of goat domesticated from the wild goat of southwest Asia and Eastern Europe. The goat is a member of the Bovidae family and is closely related to the sheep as both are in the goat-antelope subfamily Caprinae. There are over three hundred distinct breeds of...

s and llama
Llama
The llama is a South American camelid, widely used as a meat and pack animal by Andean cultures since pre-Hispanic times....

s that graze on the plant. the goats are grazing along the Missionary Ridge
Missionary Ridge
Missionary Ridge is a geographic feature in Chattanooga, Tennessee, site of the Battle of Missionary Ridge, a battle in the American Civil War, fought on November 25, 1863. Union forces under Maj. Gens. Ulysses S. Grant, William T. Sherman, and George H...

 area in the east of the city. Similar efforts to reduce widespread nuisance kudzu growth have also been undertaken in the cities of Winston-Salem, North Carolina
Winston-Salem, North Carolina
Winston-Salem is a city in the U.S. state of North Carolina, with a 2010 population of 229,617. Winston-Salem is the county seat and largest city of Forsyth County and the fourth-largest city in the state. Winston-Salem is the second largest municipality in the Piedmont Triad region and is home to...

  and Tallahassee, FL.

Fire


Prescribed burning is also used on old extensive infestations to remove vegetative cover and promote seed germination for removal or treatment. It is usually done to prepare for treatment of the root crowns. Landscape equipment, such as a skid loader
Skid loader
A skid loader or skid steer loader is a small rigid frame, engine-powered machine with lift arms used to attach a wide variety of labor-saving tools or attachments. Though sometimes they are equipped with tracks, skid-steer loaders are typically four-wheel drive vehicles with the left-side drive...

 ("Bobcat"), can also remove biomass. While fire is not an effective way to kill kudzu, equipment, such as skid loaders, can remove crowns and thereby kill kudzu with minimal disturbance of soil.

Herbicide


To properly manage kudzu, stem cutting should be immediately followed with the application of a systemic herbicide
Herbicide
Herbicides, also commonly known as weedkillers, are pesticides used to kill unwanted plants. Selective herbicides kill specific targets while leaving the desired crop relatively unharmed. Some of these act by interfering with the growth of the weed and are often synthetic "imitations" of plant...

; for example, glyphosate, Triclopyr
Triclopyr
Triclopyr is a systemic, foliar herbicide in the pyridine group. It is used to control broadleaf weeds while leaving grasses and conifers unaffected....

, or Tordon, directly on the cut stem. This process is an effective means of transporting the herbicide into the kudzu's extensive root system. The usage of herbicides can be combined with other methods of eradication and control, such as mowing, grazing, or burning, which can allow for an easier application of the chemical to the weakened plants. When it comes to large-scale forestry infestations, soil-active herbicides have been shown to be highly effective.

After initial herbicidal treatment, follow-up treatments and monitoring are usually necessary, depending on how long the kudzu has been growing in the area. It may require up to ten years of supervision, after the initial chemical placement, to make sure the plant does not return in the future.

Herbicides which have been proven to be effective to control kudzu are claimed to be "rather safe to humans, but generally lethal on most plants."

Fungi


Since 1998, the United States Department of Agriculture
United States Department of Agriculture
The United States Department of Agriculture is the United States federal executive department responsible for developing and executing U.S. federal government policy on farming, agriculture, and food...

, Agricultural Research Service
Agricultural Research Service
The Agricultural Research Service is the principal in-house research agency of the United States Department of Agriculture . ARS is one of four agencies in USDA's Research, Education and Economics mission area...

 (ARS) has experimented with using the fungus
Fungus
A fungus is a member of a large group of eukaryotic organisms that includes microorganisms such as yeasts and molds , as well as the more familiar mushrooms. These organisms are classified as a kingdom, Fungi, which is separate from plants, animals, and bacteria...

 Myrothecium verrucaria
Myrothecium verrucaria
Myrothecium verrucaria is a plant pathogen. It is common throughout the world, often found on materials such as paper, textiles, canvas and cotton. It is a highly potent cellulose decomposer....

as a biologically-based herbicide against kudzu. A diacetylverrucarol
Diacetylverrucarol
Diacetylverrucarol is a natural trichothecene produced by the fungus Myrothecium verrucaria. Chemically, it is an acetate derivative of verrucarol.- Herbicide use :...

 spray based on M. verrucaria works under a variety of conditions (including the absence of dew
Dew
[Image:Dew on a flower.jpg|right|220px|thumb|Some dew on an iris in Sequoia National Park]]Dew is water in the form of droplets that appears on thin, exposed objects in the morning or evening...

), causes minimal injury to many of the other woody plants in kudzu-infested habitats, and takes effect fast enough that kudzu treated with it in the morning starts showing evidence of damage by mid-afternoon. Initial formulations of the herbicide produced toxic levels of trichothecene
Trichothecene
Trichothecenes are a very large family of chemically related mycotoxins produced by various species of Fusarium, Myrothecium, Trichoderma, Trichothecium, Cephalosporium, Verticimonosporium, and Stachybotrys...

 as a by-product, though the ARS discovered that growing M. verrucaria in a fermenter on a liquid instead of a solid diet limited or eliminated the problem.

Helium


In 2010, sixteen-year-old Jakob Schindler designed a device that allows him to drill into the ground and dispense helium
Helium
Helium is the chemical element with atomic number 2 and an atomic weight of 4.002602, which is represented by the symbol He. It is a colorless, odorless, tasteless, non-toxic, inert, monatomic gas that heads the noble gas group in the periodic table...

 which kills the kudzu while reportedly leaving other plants unharmed. Effectiveness varies and further research is needed to identify the effect of factors such as the season, the soil, and the age of the kudzu.

See also

  • Chinese herbology
  • Daidzein
    Daidzein
    Daidzein belongs to the group of isoflavones. Daidzein and other isoflavone compounds, such as genistein, are present in a number of plants and herbs like the Thai Kwao Krua or Pueraria mirifica, Kudzu or Pueraria lobata, and in food sources such as soybeans and soy products like tofu and textured...

  • Daidzin
    Daidzin
    Daidzin is a natural organic compound in the class of phytochemicals known as isoflavones. Daidzin can be found in Japanese plant Kudzu and from soybean leaves.Daidzin is the 7-O-glucoside of daidzein....

  • Puerarin
    Puerarin
    Puerarin is one of several known isoflavones. Puerarin is found in a number of plants and herbs like the root of Pueraria notably of the kudzu plant.Puerarin is the 8-C-glucoside of daidzein....


External links