Scientific Name: Pueraria montana var. lobata

Common Name: kudzu

Other Common Names: Japanese arrowroot, acha, aka, kudzu, nepalem, wa yaka

Synonyms: Dolichos lobatus, Pueraria hirsuta, Pueraria lobata, Pueraria thunbergiana

Habit: This plant is a climbing, perennial vine is part of the pea family. It flowers in late summer followed with the emergence of brown seedpods. With age, the plant can become woody. It is intolerant of mowing and frost, however.

Leaves: Leaves are alternate with three leaflets up to four inches across. The leaflets usually have three lobes with pointed tips, and are hairy on both sides.

Identifying Characteristics: This plant can grow up to 12 inches per day. It can reproduce through seeds or by stolons and stem fragments.

Flower Seed Head: The individual purple flowers are about 1/2 inch long and grow in clusters. The highly fragrant flowers emit a a strong grape Kool-Aid odor. Fruiting seedpods are long, flat brown pods covered in golden brown hair. The seedpods can grow up to 3 inches in length.

Seed Fruit: Seedpods usually contain from 3 to 10 seeds. This plant does not normaly reproduce with seeds, each pod only produces 1 or 2 viable seeds, which have a long germination period.

Where Found: This plant will grow in most climates, but prefers areas with mild winters and and average annual rainfall of 40 inches. It also prefers forest edges, roadsides and open fields, although it will cover hillsides and even entire trees.

  • Life cycle: perennial

  • Milky sap: Not Present

  • Plant type: Vine

  • Thorns: Not Present

  • Plant family: Fabaceae

  • Leaf arrangement: alternate

  • Leaf shape: lance; oval; round

  • Ochrea: Not Present

  • Leaf margin: lobed

  • Stem hairs: has hairs

  • Flower color: purple

  • Growth habit: vine

  • Stem: round or oval

  • Leaf structure: trifoliate

  • Leaf hairs: has hairs

  • Flower symmetry: radial symetery

  • Flower diameter: dime; nickle; quarter

  • Root structure: taproot; fibrous

  • Leaf stalk: longer than leaf