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Leguminosae Piteraria obata (Willd.) Ohwi

Source: Magness et al. 1971

Kudzu is a long-lived perennial adapted to the southeastern quarter of the United States. It was introduced from Japan in 1876 but its widespread use for pasture, hay and erosion control has been during the last half century. The plant is a coarse-growing vine that forms long runners which root and form crowns at the nodes. Leaves are trifoliate and large with leaflets up to 6 inches long and equally broad. Above-ground parts are killed by temperatures much below freezing, and deep freezing of the soil will kill the entire plant. In warm winter areas stems become woody.

Kudzu is nearly equal to alfalfa in nutritive value and palatability, both as pasture and cured as hay. It is particularly valuable for covering rough land and gullies where it furnishes both pasture and erosion control. It continues growth until frost so gives a long season for pasturing. Propagation is by planting sections of the rooted runners with the crowns. Under good growing conditions a complete ground cover can be attained in 2 to 3 years and will persist indefinitely if not overgrazed or mowed too often.

Last update February 18, 1999 by ch