Pueraria montana var. lobata
Description: Deciduous twining, trailing, rope-like woody vine, 35 to 100 feet long with three-leaflet leaf. Leaves and small vines dying with first frost and matted dead leaves persistent during winter. Leaves and stems are hairy. Fragrant purple flowers form clusters that are up to one foot long. Kudzu fruits produced in the fall are hairy, flattened bean-like pods.
Ecological Threat: Kills or degrades other plants by smothering them under a solid blanket of leaves, by girdling woody stems and tree trunks, and by breaking branches or uprooting entire trees and shrubs through the sheer force of its weight. Once established, vines grow rapidly, as much as 60 feet per season at a rate of about one foot per day. May extend up to 100 feet in length, with stems 1-4 inches in diameter. Roots are fleshy, with massive tap roots 7 inches or more in diameter, 6 feet or more in length.
Biology & Spread: The spread of kudzu in the U.S. is currently limited to vegetative expansion by runners and rhizomes and by vines that root at the nodes to form new plants.
Threat in Oklahoma: Kudzu grows best in degraded, eroded, or disturbed sites in full sun and sandy soil. Does not grow well in wet bottomlands or in thin hard-pan soils. Know from several locations in Oklahoma, the mild winters may cause kudzu to expand throughout eastern Oklahoma.