Ahhh kudzu, the plant that ate the south… It was only a matter of time until we tackled this botanical bane. Kudzu was originally introduced to the US in the late 1800s and became popular in the South as a fragrantly flowered ornamental vine that could be grown rapidly to shade porches in the hot southern summers. Further securing Kudzu’s future as the #1 invasive foliage, in the 1930s, Congress established the Soil Erosion Service (now the Natural Resource Conservation Service) and gave 85 million baby kudzu to landowners to ameliorate the environmental cost of improper agricultural practices.
Since its introduction from its native Japan and China, it has taken well to the warm and moist soils of the South and now grows wildly–crowding out native species. Notorious for its rapid growth of as much as 1 meter/day under optimum conditions, it has been officially declared invasive in 21 of the 32 states it resides. However, rampant kudzu growth can be controlled through destruction of its roots and crowns to curb vegetative propagation.
Luckily, kudzu is not only tasty for livestock, but also for human invasivores. There already exist many recipes utilizing different parts of the plant out there in the world wide web, and kudzu can also be used in various crafts such as basket weaving.