|Photo by Jam Juice|
The picture above is a train passing through my hometown of Vicksburg, MS, cutting it way through the kudzu off of Washington Street.
Kudzu is a native of China and Japan and was introduced to the United States in 1876 at the Centennial Exposition that was held in Philadelphia to celebrate the nations's 100th birthday. It is a creeping, climbing perennial vine that is a nuisance and is eating up the south. A kudzu vine can grow as much as a foot per day and sixty feet during a growing season. Kudzu kills the trees and plants by smothering and choking them with its fast-growing vines, and as the heavy vines engulf trees or shrubs their weight can break or uproot trees. It's a love/hate relationship with it.
It's not all bad news. It makes excellent food for cattle and goats and controls erosion. The rubbery vines can be used for basket weaving. Fiber from kudzu is referred to as ko-kemp and it can be used to make paper and cloth.
It may be a permanent fixture in our landscape but we can control it but may never be completely rid of it. We have to learn to live with kudzu and keep our doors closed tight so it don't come in.