Devils Plant Kudzu

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The Devils Plant

Kudzu is a perennial vine of the legume family. It was first introduced to the United States from Japan in 1876 by the United States government to be used as a fast growing ground cover and as a forage crop. It is also very high in nitrogen and actually replaces nitrogen into the soil. A couple things kudzu is good for is to be used as livestock feed, in fertilizer, herbal remedies, teas, honey, or even some paper products. Although kudzu seemed like a wonder plant, the introduction of kudzu led to many unforeseen consequences.

One unforeseen consequence stemming from the introduction of kudzu was the fact that it even kills other plants or trees. It kills them by smothering them under a blanket of leaves. Kudzu’s ability to grow quickly, and survive in low nitrogen areas allows it to out-compete native species. Not to mention, kudzu can pretty much grow anywhere since it can root wherever stems make contact with soil, which allows the vines to grow in all directions. Amazing how a plant is able to kill another plant.

The introduction to kudzu also caused a great amount of safety issues. These being issues like traffic accidents due to kudzu covering road signs, or even covering the road/highway itself. This can be a hazard because if the driver can’t see the stop sign then they aren’t going to stop causing them to get into an accident. Also, when kudzu is wet it gets very slimy making it hard to grip if your tires run over it. Another safety issue kudzu can cause is bringing down power lines which can start horrible fires. Kudzu can really become a dangerous thing if not taken care of.

Kudzu should serve as a reminder to us all because it takes a great amount of the United States’ money. This hard to control plant cost the U.S an estimated $100-$500 million a year in forest productivity. In addition, it takes about $5,000 per each 2.5 acres per year to control kudzu. For many different companies, it costs about $1.5 million per year to...
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