I love Kudzu!


Closeup of kudzu and a few other native plants

I love Kudzu, an invasive vine common in the southeastern United States (but due to global warming, it now can be found in the Middle Atlantic states and even the northeast as far north as Massachusetts).  It grows most prolifically in the South, however.  Kudzu has even been dubbed “the vine that ate the South” due to its unfortunate tendency to “grab” hold of other plants and trees, and eventually cover them so completely they can no longer obtain sunlight and die.  It has been known to take down telephone wires and destroy property.

Chinese or Japanese Arrowroot (kudzu’s actual name) was brought to the United States from China (where it is not invasive) as an ornamental plant and a method of stopping soil erosion in the late 1800s.  But because in the United States, it had no natural enemies or feeding animals to keep its growth in check, the vine quickly took over cultivated gardens like a vegetable cancer and could even destroy property.   Today it is considered a weed because of its invasive and destructive tendencies.

In spite of its terrible reputation, kudzu is beautiful.  It produces lovely purple flowers and has big green heart shaped leaves.  In the southern states, where it is ubiquitous, you can sometimes see entire fields or groves of trees along the sides of roads covered by it. Although the smothered trees are likely doomed, the resulting rounded, domed shapes can give the scenery an otherwordly, eerie, even sinister appearance.

All pictures were taken by me in the Nantahala National Forest, Nantahala, NC.


Kudzu gone wild.


Cathedral of kudzu


An opening in the kudzu


11 thoughts on “I love Kudzu!

  1. I can’t claim any love of kudzu, not that I harbor any hatred either. I’ve never been around where kudzu grew much. When I lived in Columbia, SC, I actually didn’t see it much in that area — maybe it didn’t grow well in the sandy soil and clay. I’d mostly notice it on the side of roads when heading north up through North Carolina, eastern Kentucky, etc. I admit that it’s fascinating to look at, in the way it can entirely take over and create this single mass of green.

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  2. Howdy Lucky!
    My mother always loved kudzu, too. Whenever we were driving back to Texas from my grandmother’s in Tennessee, she’d always grab some cuttings trying to get it started in our backyard. It was illegal to take the cuttings, or so she said. I remember sitting in the hot sweaty car — before air conditioning — waiting for her to get her cuttings and scared we would be arrested. She also talked so much about how it was choking out the South that I wondered why she’d want it to choke out our backyard, too. But, that was my mom — she died two years ago — the maverick. Thanks for helping me remember.

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  3. Hi Lucky, I hope you’re doing okay. I saw on the news that a hurricane and some tornadoes hit the Carolinas. I’ve been thinking about you and praying for your safety.

    Hasn’t 2020 been crazy? I sure didn’t see this coming. ‘Stay safe and stay sane’ is my motto for this year.

    Kudzu is pretty. I wonder if it would grow out here in barren New Mexico? 😀

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      • Yaaay I’m glad you are okay!! I’m with you, praying for good news and better days. My granddaughter and her husband tested positive for covid-19 back in April. They live in upstate New York. They were both very sick, but they finally recovered, thank the Lord. Now my daughter, who lives in Washington state, is waiting to find out if she and her boyfriend have the coronavirus. They were at a birthday party for her boyfriend’s stepmom last week, and a couple of days later, the stepmom tested positive for covid-19. This is scary stuff! I have never prayed so much in my life!

        I was on jury duty back in March when the first positive case of covid-19 was found here in New Mexico. The state supreme court put a hold on jury trials shortly after that. I miss my fellow jurors! I always thought that jury duty would be a pain and I dreaded it when I got the summons, but it was actually very interesting. Then BOOM, covid-19 shut everything down. It’s been like Groundhog Day ever since!

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