Kudzu

Kudzu covering woods alongside road

While kudzu may seem as Southern as Georgia peaches or Florida oranges, this invasive vine was actually introduced to the United States from Asia. Only after it started choking out whole stands of trees did people realize it might not have been such a good idea.

This invasive vine has taken over entire tracts of land seemingly overnight. Kudzu smothers all the other vegetation around, including tall trees. It can grow up to a foot a day, eventually reaching a hundred feet tall, and has tuberous roots and dark brown, rope-like, hairy stems. Originally from East Asia, kudzu was brought to the U.S. as an ornamental plant in the nineteenth century. For many years, it was even planted to control erosion. Today kudzu covers about two million acres in the South and has been found throughout Florida.

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