Kudzu (/ˈkʊdzuː/; also called Japanese arrowroot) is a group of plants in the genus Pueraria, in the pea family Fabaceae, subfamily Faboideae. They are climbing, coiling, and trailing perennial vines native to much of eastern Asia, Southeast Asia, and some Pacific islands. The name is derived from the Japanese name for the plant East Asian arrowroot (Pueraria montana var. lobata), クズ or 葛 (kuzu).[note 1] Where these plants are naturalized, they can be invasive and are considered noxious weeds. The plant 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.
The name kudzu describes one or more species in the genus Pueraria that are closely related, and some of them are considered to be varieties rather than full species. The morphological differences between them are subtle; they can breed with each other, and introduced kudzu populations in the United States apparently have ancestry from more than one of the species. They are:
Kudzu spreads by vegetative reproduction via stolons (runners) that root at the nodes to form new plants and by rhizomes. Kudzu also spreads by seeds, 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 can remain viable for several years, and can successfully germinate only when soil is persistently soggy for 5-7 days, with temperatures above 20°C (68°F). Once germinated, saplings must be kept in a well-drained medium that retains high moisture. During this stage of growth, kudzu must receive as much sunlight as possible. Kudzu saplings are sensitive to mechanical disturbance, and are damaged by chemical fertilizers. They do not tolerate long periods of shade or high water tables.
Kudzu has been used as a form of erosion control and to enhance the soil. As a legume, it increases the nitrogen in the soil by a symbiotic relationship with nitrogen-fixing bacteria. Its deep taproots also transfer valuable minerals from the subsoil to the topsoil, thereby improving the topsoil. In the deforested section of the central Amazon Basin in Brazil, it has been used for improving the soil pore-space in clay latosols, thus freeing even more water for plants than in the soil prior to deforestation.
Kudzu can be used by grazing animals, as it is high in quality as a forage and palatable to livestock. It can be grazed until frost 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 typically has a 15–18% crude protein content and over 60% total digestible nutrient value. The quality of the leaves decreases, however, as vine content increases relative to the leaf content. Kudzu also has low forage yields despite its rate of growth, yielding around two to four tons of dry matter per acre annually. It is also difficult to bale due to its vining growth and its slowness in shedding water. This makes it necessary to place kudzu hay under sheltered protection after being baled. Fresh kudzu is readily consumed by all types of grazing animals, but frequent grazing over three to four years can ruin even established stands. Thus, kudzu only serves well as a grazing crop on a temporary basis.
Kudzu fiber has long been used for fiber art and basketry. The long runners which propagate the kudzu fields and the larger vines which cover trees make excellent weaving material. Some basketmakers use the material green. Others use it after splitting it in half, allowing it to dry and then rehydrating it using hot water. Both traditional and contemporary basketry artists use kudzu.
Kudzu contains isoflavones, including puerarin (about 60% of the total isoflavones), daidzein, daidzin (structurally related to genistein), mirificin, and salvianolic acid, among numerous others identified. In traditional Chinese medicine, where it is known as gé gēn (gegen), kudzu is considered one of the 50 fundamental herbs thought to have therapeutic effects, although there is no high-quality clinical research to indicate it has any activity or therapeutic use in humans. Adverse effects may occur if kudzu is taken by people with hormone-sensitive cancer or those taking tamoxifen, antidiabetic medications, or methotrexate.
The roots contain starch, which has traditionally been used as a food ingredient in East Asia. In Vietnam, the starch called bột sắn dây is flavoured with pomelo oil and then used as a drink in the summer. In Japan, the plant is known as kuzu and the starch named kuzuko. Kuzuko is used in dishes including kuzumochi, mizu manjū, and kuzuyu. It also serves as a thickener for sauces, and can substitute for cornstarch.
The flowers are used to make a jelly that tastes similar to grape jelly. Roots, flowers, and leaves of kudzu show antioxidant activity that suggests food uses. Nearby bee colonies may forage on kudzu nectar during droughts as a last resort, producing a low-viscosity red or purple honey that tastes of grape jelly or bubblegum.
Kudzu has also been used for centuries in East Asia to make herbal teas and tinctures. Kudzu powder is used in Japan to make an herbal tea called kuzuyu. Kakkonto (葛根湯, Mandarin Chinese: gěgēntāng, Japanese: kakkontō) is a herbal drink with its origin in traditional Chinese medicine. It is made from a mixture of ginger, cinnamon, Chinese peony, licorice, jujube, ephedra, and powder ground from the root of the kudzu plant. As the name, which translates literally to "kudzu infusion", implies, kudzu, or Pueraria lobata, serves as the main ingredient. Together these plants are used to create a drink containing puerarin, daidzein, paenoflorin, cinnamic acid, glycyrrhizin, ephedrine and gingerol.
Kudzu's environmental and ecological damage results from its outcompeting other species for a resource. Kudzu competes with native flora for light, and acts to block their access to this vital resource by growing over them and shading them with its leaves. Native plants may then die as a result.
Changes in leaf litter associated with kudzu infestation results in changes to decomposition processes and a 28% reduction in stocks of soil carbon, with potential implications for processes involved in climate change.
Kudzu was introduced from Japan into the United States at the Japanese pavilion in the 1876 Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia. In the 1930s and 1940s, the vine was rebranded as a way for farmers to stop soil erosion. Workers were paid $8 per acre to sow topsoil with the invasive vine. The cultivation covered over one million acres of kudzu. It is now common along roadsides and other disturbed areas throughout most of the southeastern United States as far north as rural areas of Pulaski County, Illinois. Estimates of its rate of spreading differ wildly; it has been described as spreading at the rate of 150,000 acres (610 km2) annually, although in 2015 the United States Forest Service estimated the rate to be only 2,500 acres per year.
Kudzu was discovered July 2009 in a patch 110 m (360 ft) wide and 30 m (98 ft) across, on a south-facing slope on the shore of Lake Erie near Leamington, Ontario, about 50 km (31 mi) southeast of 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 recognized the kudzu instantly, having read about its destructive expansion in the southeastern United States.
In New Zealand, kudzu was declared an "unwanted organism" and was added to the Biosecurity New Zealand register in 2002.
For successful long-term control of kudzu, destroying the underground system, which can be extremely large and deep, is not necessary. Only killing or removing the kudzu root crown and all rooting runners is needed. The root crown is a fibrous knob of tissue that sits on top of the roots. Crowns form from multiple vine nodes that root to the ground, and range from pea- to basketball-sized. The older the crowns, the deeper they tend to be found in the ground. 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 the above-ground vines is not sufficient for an immediate kill. Destroying all removed crown material is necessary. Buried crowns can regenerate into healthy kudzu. Transporting crowns in soil removed from a kudzu infestation is one common way that kudzu unexpectedly spreads and shows up in new locations.
Close mowing every week, regular heavy grazing for many successive years, or repeated cultivation may be effective, as this serves to deplete root reserves. If done in the spring, cutting off vines must be repeated. Regrowth appears to exhaust the plant's stored carbohydrate reserves. Cut kudzu can be fed to livestock, burned, or composted.
The city of Chattanooga, Tennessee, undertook a trial program in 2010 using goats and llamas to graze on the plant. Similar efforts to reduce widespread nuisance kudzu growth have also been undertaken in the cities of Winston-Salem, North Carolina and Tallahassee, Florida.
Prescribed burning is also used on old extensive infestations to remove vegetative cover and promote seed germination for removal or treatment. While fire is not an effective way to kill kudzu, equipment, such as a skid loader, can later remove crowns and thereby kill kudzu with minimal disturbance of soil.
A systemic herbicide, for example, glyphosate, triclopyr, or picloram, can be applied directly on cut stems, which is an effective means of transporting the herbicide into the kudzu's extensive root system. Herbicides can be used after other methods of control, such as mowing, grazing, or burning, which can allow for an easier application of the chemical to the weakened plants. In 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. Up to 10 years of supervision may be needed after the initial chemical placement to make sure the plant does not return.
Since 1998, the United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service (ARS) has experimented with using the fungus Myrothecium verrucaria as a biologically based herbicide against kudzu. A diacetylverrucarol spray based on M. verrucaria works under a variety of conditions (including the absence of dew), causes minimal injury to many of the other woody plants in kudzu-infested habitats, and takes effect quickly enough that kudzu treated with it in the morning starts showing evidence of damage by midafternoon. Initial formulations of the herbicide produced toxic levels of other trichothecenes as byproducts, though the ARS discovered growing M. verrucaria in a fermenter on a liquid diet (instead of a solid) limited or eliminated the problem.
Arrowroot tea, also called kudzu tea, is a traditional Japanese and Korean tea made from East Asian arrowroot, a type of kudzu. The tea is also called kuzuyu (葛湯; くずゆ) in Japanese, and chikcha (칡차), galgeun-cha (갈근차; 葛根茶), and galbun-cha (갈분차; 葛粉茶) in Korean.Daidzin
Daidzin is a natural organic compound in the class of phytochemicals known as isoflavones. Daidzin can be found in Japanese plant kudzu (Pueraria lobata, Fabaceae) and from soybean leaves.Daidzin is the 7-O-glucoside of daidzein.
Daidzin has shown the potential for the treatment of alcohol dependency (antidipsotropic) based on animal models.Doug Marlette
Douglas Nigel "Doug" Marlette (December 6, 1949 – July 10, 2007) was a Pulitzer Prize-winning American editorial cartoonist who, at the time of his death, had also published two novels and was "finding his voice in writing long-length fiction." His popular comic strip Kudzu, distributed by Universal Press Syndicate from 1981 to 2007, was adapted into a musical comedy.
Born in Greensboro, North Carolina, Marlette was raised in Durham, North Carolina; Laurel, Mississippi; and Sanford, Florida.Marlette began his cartooning career while a student at Seminole Community College where he worked on the student newspaper. He then went on to Florida State University where he drew political cartoons for The Florida Flambeau, from 1969 to 1971. He illustrated the 1970-71 FSU yearbook, Tally Ho, including a wraparound cover.Marlette was the cartoonist for The Charlotte Observer (1972–1987), The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (1987–89) for which he won a Pulitzer Prize in 1988, New York Newsday (1989–02), The Tallahassee Democrat (2002–06) and The Tulsa World (2006–07).In 2002, he drew criticism from Islamic groups for drawing a cartoon depicting Mohammed driving a Ryder van with missiles pointed out the back and the caption, "What would Mohammed drive?"GABA receptor antagonist
GABA receptor antagonists are drugs that inhibit the action of GABA. In general these drugs produce stimulant and convulsant effects, and are mainly used for counteracting overdoses of sedative drugs.
Examples include bicuculline, securinine and metrazol, and the benzodiazepine GABAA receptor antagonist flumazenil.
Also thujone, ginkgo biloba, kudzu and muira puama may have properties of GABAA receptor antagonism.George McConnell
George McConnell is an American musician from Vicksburg, Mississippi who played for Widespread Panic, Kudzu Kings, and Beanland. He attended the University of Mississippi where he was in the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity.
McConnell co-founded Beanland in Oxford, Mississippi in 1985 with guitarist Bill McCrory. After some early shuffling, the band's line-up consisted of McConnell and McCrory on guitar, John Hermann on keyboards, Ron Lewis on bass, and Harry Peel on drums. The band recorded a self-titled debut album in 1991 and toured extensively, mainly around the south and southwest, playing blues-oriented rock as part of the nascent early-90's jamband renaissance.
McConnell went on to play for several years in the country rock band Kudzu Kings, eventually leaving to devote his time to a guitar store he opened in Oxford.
In 2002, following Widespread Panic guitarist Michael Houser's diagnosis of pancreatic cancer, McConnell and saxophone player Randall Bramblett were asked to accompany Widespread Panic on the band's summer tour. Initially McConnell sat in for a few songs per show to add support to Houser's playing, however when Houser was unable to complete the tour McConnell filled in as the lead guitarist. McConnell was named as the new lead guitarist in the band following Houser's death in August 2002.
McConnell served as Widespread Panic's lead guitarist for four years from 2002–2006, recording two studio albums and three live albums with the band. His last show with the band was July 30, 2006, in St. Louis, Missouri.In 2008, McConnell began performing with a new band, George McConnell & The Nonchalants. McConnell is debuting his new batch of tunes exclusively via digital download on his new website http://www.georgemcconnell.com. As a throwback to his early days of discovering new music, he’s releasing the songs in a “Virtual 45” format, with the songs available only as a pair—just like the “A-side” and “B-side” of a 45 RPM single.
In 2012, George McConnell was asked to fill in for guitarist John Neff for a series of year-end shows for the Drive-By Truckers.
On March 27, 2014, George McConnell was the subject of the Mississippi Public Broadcasting television show, "Oxford Sounds," along with Mississippi heavy metal group The Cooters. The TV show was broadcast statewide on public television. George McConnell & The Nonchalants played three songs on the show, including "A Thousand Things," "Must Not Mind," and the Beanland classic "Doretha." McConnell was interviewed by Cooters frontman Newt Rayburn.Kudzu.com
Kudzu.com was an online directory that aggregated user reviews and ratings on local businesses, merchants, and service providers. Kudzu.com was established by Cox Enterprises in 2005, and later owned and operated by Cox Media Group. The site closed on November 30, 2018.Kudzu (comic strip)
Kudzu was a daily comic strip by Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial cartoonist Doug Marlette about rural Southerners. Distributed by Universal Press Syndicate, the strip ran from June 15, 1981 to August 26, 2007.The title came from the kudzu vine which was introduced to the Southern United States (and initially encouraged) as a soil erosion control plant, but soon became an out-of-control invasive species.Kudzu Kings
Kudzu Kings is an alternative country/roots rock jam band from Oxford, Mississippi. Their sound has been categorized as a blend of country music, bluegrass and improvisational rock & roll. The band was actively together and toured aggressively for almost ten years (1994–2003). Today, Kudzu Kings play regularly in the Southeast for festivals, benefits, obscure astrological events, or big paychecks to tamper with their unique chemistry. In addition, members are working on various projects, both solo and with other Kudzu members; some current projects the Kings have sired are Pithecanfunkus Erectus, Tate Moore and the Cosmic Door, Effie Burt Band, Hemptones, Sparkle Pants, Blackbird Hour, and Rocket 88.
In their touring years together, the band garnered substantial success in the Southeast, Colorado, and Texas, in addition to spreading their base to the rest of the nation and Canada with a number of tours. They have shared the stage many times with Widespread Panic (with whom longtime Kudzu guitarist George McConnell eventually joined up with in 2002), as well as with many other artists, including Bob Weir and Rob Wasserman, Leftover Salmon, Jimmie Dale Gilmore and Junior Brown, just to name a few. The band charges a fee far beyond their talent to view their music live. Kudzu Kings have also welcomed a number of guest musicians to collaborate over the years (sometimes sitting in for several shows for absent members) including Chris Ethridge, Bucky Baxter, John "Jojo" Hermann (of Widespread Panic), Cody Dickinson (of North Mississippi All-Stars), and Tony Furtado.Kudzu in the United States
Kudzu is an invasive plant species in the United States. Its introduction has produced devastating environmental consequences. This has earned it the nickname, "The vine that ate the South". It has been spreading rapidly in the southern U.S., "easily outpacing the use of herbicide spraying and mowing, as well increasing the costs of these controls by $6 million annually". Estimates of the vine's spread vary, from the United States Forest Service's 2015 estimate of 2,500 acres (1,000 ha) per year to the Department of Agriculture's estimate of as much as 150,000 acres (61,000 ha) annually.Kudzu powder
Kudzu powder, called géfěn (葛粉) in Chinese, kuzuko (葛粉; くずこ) in Japanese, and chik-garu (칡가루) or galbun (갈분; 葛粉) in Korean, is a starch powder made from the root of the kudzu plant. It is used in traditional East Asian cuisine mainly for thickening sauces and making various types of desserts.
Examples of dishes that use kuzuko:
ankake (liquid stock thickened with kuzuko)
goma-dofu (kuzuko pudding with sesame paste)Examples of wagashi (Japanese desserts) with kuzuko:
kuzukiri (clear cake of boiled kuzuko cut into noodle-like strips and eaten with kuromitsu)
kuzuzakura (a.k.a. kuzu-dama, a cake of bean paste covered with kuzuko)
Mizu manjū (red bean paste is coated with translucent kuzuko paste that is then allowed to set into a jelly-like consistency)Examples of Tong sui (Chinese desserts usually in soup form)
Got Fan soupMegacopta cribraria
Megacopta cribraria, also called the bean plataspid, kudzu bug, kudzu beetle, globular stink bug and lablab bug, is a shield bug native to India and China, where it is an agricultural pest of lablab beans and other legumes. The bug, while harmless to houseplants and people, often enters houses. It is attracted to white surfaces such as the walls of houses or white vehicles, because of the high reflectance of the white surfaces as it relates to the bugs' simple eyes. As a defense mechanism, they emit a foul-smelling pheromone that also acts as a congregation pheromone. Aside from smelling foul, the liquid also creates a burning sensation and sometimes leaves a red welt on bare skin. It is similar to other Plataspididae in having a somewhat unusual symbiotic relationship with its gut bacteria. Before laying eggs, females deposit particles containing the symbiont, which are then eaten by newly hatched nymphs under natural conditions. Nymphs experimentally deprived of access to the symbiont exhibited slower growth, smaller body sizes and higher mortality.The bean plataspid gives off an offensive odor when touched, squashed, or poked. Hosted by wisteria, green beans, and other legumes, the insect sucks juice from the stems of soybean plants and reduces crop yield. However, when the insect infests kudzu, another invasive species, it appreciably reduces the growth of that plant.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 (which includes soybean), Amphicarpaea, Nogra, Teyleria, Neonotonia, Pseudovigna, Pseudeminia, Pachyrhizus (which includes jicama), and other genera of the tribe Phaseoleae.The best known is kudzu, also called Japanese arrowroot.Pueraria montana
Pueraria montana is a species of plant in the botanical family Fabaceae. At least three sub-species (alternatively called varieties) are known. It is closely related to other species in the genus Pueraria (P. edulis and P. phaseoloides) and the common name kudzu is used for all of these species and hybrids between them. The morphological differences between them 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.Pueraria phaseoloides
Pueraria phaseoloides is a plant species within the pea family (Fabaceae) and its subfamily Faboideae. It is a promising forage crop and cover crop used in the tropics. It is known as puero in Australia and tropical kudzu in most tropical regions. It is closely related to other species in the genus Pueraria and it is crossable with the other species of Pueraria.Pueraria tuberosa
Pueraria tuberosa, commonly known as kudzu, Indian kudzu, or Nepalese kudzu, Vidarikand, Sanskrit: Bhukushmandi (भूकुशमंडी) 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 25 centimetres (9.8 in) across and the insides are white, starchy and mildly sweet. Leaves are trifoliate and alternate, while the leaflets are egg-shaped, with round base and unequal sides. They are 18 cm (7.1 in) long and 16 cm (6.3 in) wide and are hairless above. Flowers are bisexual, around 1.5 cm (0.59 in) across and blue or purplish-blue in color. The fruit pods are linear, about 2–5 cm (0.79–1.97 in) long and constricted densely between the seeds. They have silky, bristly reddish-brown hair. Seeds vary from 3 to 6 in number.
It is native to India, Pakistan, and Nepal. Its medicinal potency is because of its Himalayan origin as elucidated in, Dhanvantari-Nighantu.. In Telugu, Kudzu is termed as Nela Gummadi, Dari Gummadi, Vidari Kanda.Puerarin
Puerarin, one of several known isoflavones, is found in a number of plants and herbs, such as the root of Pueraria (Radix puerariae) notably of the kudzu plant.
Puerarin is the 8-C-glucoside of daidzein.Pungcha
A pungcha is a type of traditional Korean winter hat worn by both men and women during the Joseon period for protection against the cold. It is also called pungchae and jeongpungcha. Although its shape is very similar with nambawi, the pungcha has a bolkki (볼끼) attached on both sides of the ears. It was originally worn by males of yangban, the upper class but became to spread to commoners including women.The pungcha is open on the top so that it does not cover the top of the head just like other winter caps such as nambawi, ayam, and jobawi. Whereas it fully covers the forehead, back and ears on the sides as well as cheeks by the bokki. The outer is generally made of a variety of silk called dan (단, 緞), wool and a fabric made from kudzu barks were used.Southern Culture on the Skids
Southern Culture on the Skids, also sometimes known as SCOTS, is an American rock band that was formed in 1983 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. The band consists of Rick Miller, Dave Hartman, and Mary Huff.Under the Kudzu
Under the Kudzu is the fifth studio album released by country music group Shenandoah. Released in 1993, it produced their fifth and last number one hit to date with "If Bubba Can Dance (I Can Too)" co-written by band members Marty Raybon, Mike McGuire and Bob McDill. Other singles included "Janie Baker's Love Slave", "I Want to Be Loved Like That", and "I'll Go Down Loving You". They charted at #15, #3 and #46, respectively. It is also the second and final album for the RCA Nashville label.