Pueraria lobata

Common Name: Kudzu
Scientific Name: Pueraria lobata
Family: Fabaceae
Growth Form: Herbaceous or woody vine
Native Range: Japan
Invasive Range: Most common in the mid-Atlantic region of the U.S.; as far west as Texas and as far north as New York and Massachusetts.
Introduction: Kudzu was introduced for soil conservation.  It escaped from cultivation and naturalized.  It spreads both through seed, and by shoots that develop from its roots.
Description: ·Leaves: Alternate; compound. Three leaflets, up to 18 cm long (8 in.) and 12 cm (5 in.) wide.   Leaflets spade-shaped.  Two leaflets perpendicular to a third growing directly out of stem.  Perpendicular leaflets attached by short stalks.  Hairy.

·Stem:  When young, covered in tan or orange hair.  Becomes woody with age.

·Flowers: Reddish, 2-2.5 cm (1 in.) long, on 10-20 cm (4-8 in.) stalk.  Present July through September. 

·Fruit: Flat, hairy pod.  4-5 cm (2 in.) long.  Seeds kidney-shaped, 3-4 cm (1.5-2 in.) long.
Threats: Kudzu forms dense stands that shade out native vegetation.  It spreads incredibly fast, growing 10-30 m in just one growing season. 
Fun Facts: Kudzu was used to cover aircraft landing sites during WWII, because it grows so quickly.