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*Pueraria montana (Loureiro) Merrill var. lobata (Willdenow) Maesen & S.M. Almeida ex Sanjappa & Predeep. Kudzu. Phen: Jul-Oct. Hab: Roadsides, waste areas. Dist: Native of e. Asia.

Origin/Endemic status: E. and se. Asia

Other Comments: Kudzu was strongly promoted in the 1920's and 1930's in the Southeastern United States as a stabilizer of eroded areas. Hundreds of Kudzu Clubs formed, and Kudzu Songbooks were published. It is now notorious as a weed and symbol of the South. Despite its notoriety in the popular press, kudzu is an ecologically relatively trivial (though conspicuous) weed, since it rarely produces viable seeds in our area, and generally does not invade high quality natural areas. The thickened rhizome can weigh as much as 150 kg, and is the source of a high quality cooking starch prized in Asia. The purple flowers smell like artificial grape flavoring. The leaves are very frost-sensitive.

Synonymy: = Ar, K1, K3, K4, Mi, NcTx, NE, NY, Tn, Va, WH3, Isely (1998), Ward (1998); = Pueraria lobata (Willd.) Ohwi – C, F, G, GrPl, Pa, RAB, SE3, Tx, W, WV; = Pueraria thunbergiana (Siebold & Zucc.) Benth. – S; < Pueraria montana (Lour.) Merr. – Il

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image of plant© Bruce A. Sorrie | Original Image ⭷
image of plant© Gary P. Fleming | Original Image ⭷
image of plant© Scott Ward | Original Image ⭷
image of plant© Alan Cressler: Pueraria montana, Noonday Creek, upstream of Highway 92, Cherokee County, Georgia 1 by Alan Cressler source | Original Image ⭷
image of plant© Joey Shaw source | Original Image ⭷