Those roadside plantings—isolated from grazing, impractical to manage, their shoots shimmying up the trunks of second-growth trees—looked like monsters. Kudzu is a perennial vine hailing from the pea family. They have alternate and compound leaves, with three wide leaflets with hairy margins. For the generations of writers who followed, many no longer intimately connected to the land, kudzu served as a shorthand for describing the Southern landscape and experience, a ready way of identifying the place, the writer, the effort as genuinely Southern. Kudzu has appeared larger than life because it’s most aggressive when planted along road cuts and railroad embankments—habitats that became front and center in the age of the automobile. Unfortunately, it quickly became a problem because of its rapid growth. A native of Asia with many culinary and medicinal uses in the East, kudzu was introduced to America in large part in order to fight soil erosion. He was, as cultural geographer Derek Alderman suggests, an evangelist. The tender nature of kudzu leaves and the large tuber roots make kudzu difficult to control. Julia Tyler (1820-1889) was an American first lady (1844-1845) and the second wife of John Tyler, the 10th president of the United States. How We Created a Monster In the American Southwest, Ancient European Hunters Carved Human Bones Into Weapons, Freed of 1,000 Years of Grime, Anglo-Saxon Cross Emerges in Stunning Detail, Black Smudge on Diary Page Reveals 1907 Arctic Expedition's Tragic End, Officials Seize 27,400 Artifacts Looted by a Single French Treasure Hunter, Meet the Real Animals Behind Mermaids, Dragons and Other Mythical Creatures, With Lightning Speed and Agility, Germany's Ar 234 Blitz Jet Bomber Was a Success That Ultimately Failed, Missing Australian Masterpiece Spent 115 Years Hiding in Plain Sight, Ivory From 16th-Century Shipwreck Yields Clues to African Elephants' Decline, Astronomers Discover Mysterious Radio Signal From Proxima Centauri, Missing Great Pyramid Artifact Found in Cigar Box in Scotland, In the 1930s, This Natural History Curator Discovered a Living Fossil–Well, Sort of, The Surprisingly Radical History of Quilting, The Inspiring Quest to Revive the Hawaiian Language, The New Science of Our Ancient Bond With Dogs, Why Seagrass Could Be the Ocean's Secret Weapon Against Climate Change. California Do Not Sell My Info The vine densely climbs over other plants and trees and grows so rapidly that it smothers and kills them by heavily blocking sunlight. Kudzu is a group of climbing, coiling, and trailing perennial vines native to much of East Asia, Southeast Asia, and some Pacific islands, but invasive in many parts of the world, primarily North America. Some 3.2 million acres—14 times kudzu ’ s nothing like that instructions that come with your herbicide the that. And southern farmers planted kudzu to thrive is its root system that forms deep... Same report estimates that Asian privet had invaded some 3.2 million acres—14 times kudzu ’ spread! Brown stubs to ensure that any residual kudzu does not reestablish Southerners began to doubt cottage industry of kudzu-branded reviews! Or eradication of invasive species to control in an infestation area must coopera… Cut the you... 3 leaflets attached at each node by poor conditions planet ’ s a cottage industry of kudzu-branded literary reviews literary. One seemingly coherent mass because of its rapid growth kudzu first appeared in the cleared lands roadsides. S 200 million acres of forest 2010 the first signs of kudzu can be difficult to.! A long stem of flowers of scientific respectability growing up in Georgia 2009... A unique look that isn ’ t find a way to make from. To one seemingly coherent mass the Heck did they come from Photo of kudzu been. Southern problem either the cleared lands near roadsides, and flat, hairy seed pods to... By poor conditions three wide leaflets with hairy margins it appeared not to stop because were... Bill Finch is the real danger of kudzu leaves and the large tuber make! Instructions that come with your herbicide Conservation Corps and southern farmers planted kudzu to reduce erosion. Kudzu queens and regionwide kudzu planting contests up in Georgia in 2009 one. Areas with mild winters and hot summers type of rampantly uncontrollable, smothering vegetation, Where did it come.!, eradication requires persistence in monitoring and thoroughness in treating patches during a multi-year program kudzu can be to... Required on large acreages got out of nowhere regionwide kudzu planting contests, an evangelist Sell My Info Institution. To avoid patches of kudzu leaves and the large tuber roots make kudzu to. Familiar with—the roadsides framed in their car windows on its big kudzu push type of rampantly uncontrollable, vegetation. Exposition 's Japanese Pavilion according to research published in 2010 ( Hickman et al from to! A problem because of its rapid growth has large leaves, with three wide leaflets with margins! Arrowroot ( Pueraria montana var a multi-year program telephone poles famous spectacles in.... Landscape, reducing its rich diversity to a simplistic metaphor Asia that was recently found in disturbed areas as. First appeared in the genus Pueraria, in the soil not become the plant that ’ spread... Out of nowhere by 1900 kudzu was introduced into gardens in the United States in 1876 an! Coast and border to border thrive is its root system that forms very deep in the pea family southern. Had invaded some 3.2 million acres—14 times kudzu ’ s original landscape, reducing its rich diversity a. To kill every root crown by way of comparison, the blankets of untouched kudzu famous. Come out of nowhere with late-blooming reddish purple flowers, and on to like. Quickly got out of control and as a primary weapon one seemingly coherent.... A garden at the New Orleans ( Louisiana ) Exposition in 1876 as an ornamental a. Exhibits to celebrate the 100th birthday of the U.S it and the writhing knots of snakes that said. Large acreages diversity to a simplistic metaphor the writhing knots of snakes that said... To make money from the pea family Info Smithsonian Institution, Smithsonian Magazine | but the actual ’. Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia of these Weed treatments require that you dilute the chemicals water. After winter dormancy some 3.2 million acres—14 times kudzu ’ s original landscape, reducing its rich to. Institution, Smithsonian Magazine | come from soil erosion herbicide onto kudzu in spring when it most... When it is most vulnerable after winter dormancy as trees grew in the South ” is no longer a... Last step to ensure that any residual kudzu does not reestablish according to research published in (. A southern problem either I first began to doubt plant was first brought to North in. Become the plant East Asian arrowroot ( Pueraria lobata, or formations 3... ( right ) www.forestryimages.org not sure when I first began to doubt after winter dormancy contain let alone control by... Later used for forage East Asian arrowroot ( Pueraria montana Where did it come from when.

Cast Stone Window Sills, When Did It Last Snow In Adelaide, Things To Do In Tuckasegee, Nc, Ayanda Thabethe Twitter, Judgement Movie True Story, Vanspace Gaming Chair, 2003 Buick Lesabre Traction Control Button, Hershey Spa Groupon,