I Can’t Quit You Kudzu

It’s invasive, it’s pervasive and it says ‘home’ to me

Betsy Denson
Weeds & Wildflowers
4 min readJul 19, 2021

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Photo by the author

I know I’m not supposed to love it. Pueraria montana, or as other people might know it, the Vine That Ate The South — kudzu was all the rage at the 1876 Philadelphia Centennial Exposition where people flocked to Japan’s booth to learn about their native ornamental plants.

For 20 years starting in 1930, the US government’s Soil Conservation Service was kudzu’s biggest cheerleader, claiming it was ideal for soil erosion control. So it was planted all over the south.

Later, and too late, people learned that kudzu can grow a foot a day and chokes out everything it covers. Kind of like The Blob.

Photo by the author

It has become so much a part of the landscape that we Southerners are used to it now, and although there are efforts to eradicate it — goats are particularly helpful with this— in many places kudzu grows unchecked.

I don’t see much of the vine where I live now in Southeast Texas but it greets me with gusto on the interstates and back roads of Mississippi, Alabama and Tennessee.

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Betsy Denson
Weeds & Wildflowers

Always looking for the interesting. Read an article from my pub (Smorgasbord of History) and put me on your short list for kidney donors.