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Department of Natural Resources

Illinois Exotic Species:
kudzu-vine Pueraria lobata

Kudzu is a woody vine known for its very rapid growth. It is a member of the bean family and has large trifoliate leaves. The purple flowers are produced from August through September. A native of China and Japan, it was introduced into the United States at the Philadelphia Centennial Exposition in 1876. During the 1930s rootstocks of kudzu were extensively planted on badly eroded lands in the southern states, and it now covers an estimated seven million acres of land, most in the southeastern United States. Kudzu starts new colonies by fragmentation of the stems and roots. Recently, it has demonstrated an ability to survive northern winters. It is becoming established statewide in Illinois.

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