Ohio’s Noxious Weeds
Pueraria Montana var. lobata, kudzu
Family: Legume, Fabaceae.
Habitat: Woodland edge, roadsides, rights-of-way, abandoned fields, fencerows.
Life cycle: Herbaceous to semi-woody perennial that dies back to ground each year in its northern range.
Growth Habit: An aggressive, high-climbing or sprawling vine that may grow 30m in a single season.
Leaves: Leaves are trifoliate, with the center leaflet poised on a longer stalk. Leaflets may be lobed or unlobed. Leaves are hairy beneath and along the margins, and are alternately arranged on the stem.
Stems: Young stems are densely hairy and gold in color.
Flower: Clusters of pink pea-like flowers with a grape aroma; produced occasionally in late summer in full sun. Fruit is a brown pod.
Roots: Deep, tuberous roots cluster from a large root crown. First year roots densely hairy.
Similar plants: May be confused with other rapidly growing vines such as mile-a-minute weed, wild grape, poison ivy, Virginia creeper. Of these, only poison ivy has a trifoliate leaf, but differs from kudzu in that new leaves and stems are usually smooth and shiny and its woody perennial stems cling tightly to trees with air rootlets.
The problem is………….Kudzu is an extremely aggressive vine that smothers, girdles, and shades out desired vegetation. The weight of the vines can break limbs and power lines. Alternate host for soybean rust and Kudzu bug, also a pest of soybean. Very difficult to eliminate once established.