Kudzu Facts

Kudzu Facts
Kudzu, also known as Japanese arrowroot, is vine that belongs to the pea family. It originates from Japan and China, but it can be found around the world today. Kudzu grows in the mountains, fields and near the roads. It prefers shade. Kudzu is classified as noxious weed in almost all countries outside its native range. It easily occupies new areas and suffocates plants and bushes upon which it grows. Kudzu can also induce serious damage on the buildings and power lines. Despite its invasive nature, people cultivate kudzu in ornamental purposes, as a source of fuel and medicine.
Interesting Kudzu Facts:
Kudzu has trailing and climbing, hairy stem that grow at speed of 1 foot per day. One root produces up to 30 vines that can reach length of 60 feet per season.
Kudzu has compound leaves that consist of three oval or heart-shaped leaflets. Leaves are dark green, hairy and alternately arranged on the stem.
Kudzu produces purple flowers arranged in terminal clusters that can reach 12 inches in length. Flowers contain both types of reproductive organs (perfect flowers).
Kudzu blooms during June and July. Flowers emit sweet, pleasant fragrance which attracts bees, responsible for the pollination of this plant.
Fruit of kudzu is pod filled with seed. Fruit ripens in autumn.
Kudzu propagates via seed, stolons (slender horizontal stems) and rhizome.
Root, flowers and leaves of kudzu can be used in human diet. Starch extracted from root can be used instead of cornstarch. Flowers are used for the preparation of jelly.
Kudzu is important source of food for goats and llamas in the southern parts of the USA.
Rapid growth and ability to occupy new areas in short period of time is the reason why kudzu is also known as "foot a night vine", "mile a minute vine" and "vine that ate the south".
Name "kudzu" originates from Japanese word "kuzu" which means "plant".
Kudzu has very long root (size of adult man) that can prevent erosion and improve qualities of soil. Bacteria in the root of kudzu absorb atmospheric nitrogen and convert it into nitrate, plants-friendly type of nitrogen.
Kudzu (root) is used in traditional Chinese medicine in treatment of headache, migraine, thirst, allergies, diarrhea, hypertension, cardiovascular disorders and hypercholesterolemia. Root is also used to reduce craving for alcohol, and flowers to alleviate symptoms of hangover and facilitate detoxification of liver.
Kudzu can be used for the manufacture of cellulosic ethanol, type of biofuel which does not pollute atmosphere as much as conventional types of fuel.
Fresh and dried stems of kudzu can be used for weaving of baskets and for the manufacture of lamp shades and various sculptures. Fibers extracted from the stem, known as ko-hemp, are used for the manufacture of paper and cloth.
Kudzu is perennial plant (lifespan: more than 2 years).

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