Terrestrial Plants: Kudzu (Pueraria lobata)

Origin and Date of Introduction: Europe; mid-1800s.

Pathway / Media: Nurseries, escaped cultivation.

Reason for Introduction: Deliberate, for ornamental reasons, Philadelphia Centennial Exposition; later promoted to control soil erosion during Dust Bowl.

Preferred Habitat: Almost everywhere, especially prevalent in southeastern United States because of climate.

Ecological / Economic Damage: Smothers and kills native trees and other vegetation. Kudzu grows phenomenally fast, casting a nearly continuous blanket of foliage over entire forests. The invasive Chinese vine has practically redefined local landscapes in the Feliciana parishes and adjacent areas.

Control Options: Herbicides; manual/mechanical removal; goats for biocontrol.


Photo: Frank DiBona, Flickr

Futher Reading: USDA Invasive Species Information Center