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Kudzu (Pueraria montana)

Kudzu Synonyms: Pueraria lobata

Common Names: Japanese arrowroot

Description: This plant is capable of nitrogen fixation. Not aggressive in Michigan to date but may become a greater risk as climate warms.

Habit: Perennial, aggressive semi-woody vine, forms dense mats covering trees and small buildings in southern states.

Leaves: Alternate, compound with 3 large leaflets; smooth leaf margins; may be hairy.

Stems: Young stems hairy, becoming smooth, brown; older stems up to 7.5 cm (3 in) in diameter; upright vines develop bark and annual rings, and overwinter, more robust than prostrate vines on flat ground; may grow up to 18 m (60 ft) in one season.

Flowers: Reddish-purple in color, pea-like, grow on spikes in leaf axils up to 15 cm (6 in) long, fragrant; blooms August through September.

Fruit and seeds: Dark brown, dry, clustered, flat, legume seed pods, up to 8 cm (3 in) long, covered with stiff golden-brown, spreading hairs, each with up to 9 seeds.

Habitat: Grows in full sun on a variety of soils; prefers deep loam.

Reproduction: By seed, root expansion and fragmentation; roots develop from nodes, forming root crowns every 1-2 square feet.

Similar species: Hog-peanut (Amphicarpaea bracteata) has similar leaves, pale pink flowers in clusters, not spikes.

Monitoring and rapid response: Monitor open disturbed areas and forest edges. Hand pull young plants, removing entire root crown; remove all plant material from site and destroy. Mowing, grazing or tilling throughout growing season depletes root storage, weakens plant; most effective in conjunction with herbicide. Older infestations require higher herbicide concentrations; treat cut stems with herbicide; basal bark treatment effective; foliar herbicide treatment also effective. Kudzu is fire resistant. As this species has rarely ventured into Michigan, it is important to document new occurrences. Please obtain flowering or fruiting specimens and submit to: Anton Reznicek, Curator (Vascular Plants), University of Michigan Herbarium, 3600 Varsity Drive, Ann Arbor, MI 48108-2287.

Credits: The Michigan Natural Features Inventory (MNFI) has partnered with MISIN to provide the information in this fact sheet. Species images and/or information were used with permission from "A Field Identification Guide to Invasive Plants in Michigan's Natural Communities" and "A Field Guide to Invasive Plants of Aquatic and Wetland Habitats for Michigan.


Priority Species

Common Name:


Scientific Name:

Pueraria montana







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