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Woody > Pueraria > Pueraria montana > Pueraria montana var. lobata

Pueraria montana

var. lobata


Origin:  China, Japan, and south and southeast Asia as well as parts of Oceania.
USDA Hardiness Zone
Canadian Hardiness Zone
RHS Hardiness Zone
Temperature (°C)
(-30)- 25
Temperature (°F)
(-22)- 77
15-30 m
Description and Growing Information
Flowering Period
General Description
It is a hardy deciduous (semi-woody) vine with compound leaves, elongated stems and a scaly brown bark. Kudzu is almost entirely pubescent (apart from the bark) and it has large root tubers used to store moisture and nutrients. It produces pink, blue or purple flowers in late summer and early autumn, as well as seed pods.
While it thrives in full sun, Kudzu is tolerant of shade. It requires at least 100 cm of precipitation annually, but once established, it is not susceptible to drought owing to its ability to store large amounts of moisture in its tuberous roots. It grows best in well-drained fertile loamy soils, but its tolerance extends to a wide variety of soil conditions, including nutrient deficient soils but excluding waterlogged soils. Moreover, it is somewhat indifferent to pH levels and can survive in 3-8 pH level soils. It should be noted, nonetheless, that cultivating the plant in the first place would be ill advised as it is considered a pest and can disrupt the growth of vegetation in the landscape, resulting in diminished crop productivity.
It is a spreading vine which can climb on top of and take the shape of supporting structures all the way from crops to entire buildings.
ID Characteristic
It has entire compound leaves that are almost heart-shaped and can be lobed or not, with every three leaflets grouped together. The stems are woody vines which become harsher looking and scaly as they mature. Kudzu leaves, stems, seeds pods and the flower racemes are normally pubescent, and its inflorescence is blue, pink, or purple and grows in upright racemes. Hanging brown seed pods are also an identifying characteristic.
For optimal growth, Kudzu prefers sunny open space regions with mild winters (5-15°C) and hot summers (over 25°C). These are no strict requirements nevertheless, as it has been observed to survive in -30°C winter areas in Korea. Kudzu has also been noted to grow in lowlands as well as regions as high as 1000 (range of 44°N to 30°N). It is tolerant of pollution and can survive in urban areas.
Bark/Stem Description
The stems are herbaceous at first but turn woody in time, eventually becoming scaly looking and dark brown. Young stems are normally pubescent and can climb on structures or crawl along the ground. Should the stems come into contact with soil, they form adventitious roots and spread further that way. This is Kudzu’s primary method of extending its reach.
Flower/Leaf Bud Description
The terminal bud is elongated somewhat and green with a layer of pubescence and overlapping thick looking scales. Two lateral buds lag behind on the stem with similar descriptions. Flowers are produced in long hanging racemes (10-25 cm long) that have a pinkish grey colour before bloom.
Leaf Description
The leaves are entire compound leaves that are grouped in threes leaflets. They can be lobed or not and are almost heart-shaped and are normally 8 to 20 cm long, and 5 to 19 cm wide. Additionally, the leaves have parallel venation and a pubescent surface on both sides.
Flower Description
The flowers are fragrant and grow in upright racemes (10-25 cm in length). They can be blue, pink or purple with a yellow patch at the centre. Each floret is 1.5-2 cm long and is pea-like.
Fruit Description
The fruit is composed of elongated brown seed pods in which seeds mature in autumn, 1.5 to 13 cm long and 7 to 12 mm wide.
The seeds can be submerged in water for 12 hours in a warm setting which will likely trigger germination after two weeks (Frye, 2010). This should be done in early spring as the plant’s growth period is from early spring to late autumn. The seedlings should then be moved to pots until they become sturdy enough to withstand outdoor conditions. There is also evidence showing scarification by cutting one end of the seed coat can invigorate seedling growth. Additionally, Kudzu can be propagated via cuttings. Young shoots (30-60 cm) can be cut, and split from one end to aid growth (Keung, 2002). This is done by cutting into the young shoot near one end, but not all the way through, and it ought to be followed by potting which will most likely result in root sprouting and further growth. Ideally, the young shoot should be supported.