Thursday, July 08, 2010

KUDZU-mania...


If you live in the Southern part of North America, as I do, you will not find this picture unusual. These are trees and a field that have been completely covered with KUDZU. When winter arrives the foliage will lose it’s green color and you are able to see what’s underneath. However this does not mean that the plant will be eradicated. The minute that our weather turns warm we are back where we started ... overrun with KUDZU.

It seems impossible that all of this growth has evolved from one simple plant that was not even native to our land. In 1876 the United States celebrated our centennial and countries were invited to build exhibits at the Philadelphia Exposition. The Japanese Pavilion was especially elaborate, festooned with the large leaves and delightful grape-smelling purple flowers of the imported ZUDZU plant.

This quick growing plant caught the eye of government officials and by the 1930’s the Soil Conservation Service paid hundreds of men to plant KUDZU. It was used to prevent soil erosion and as forage for cows, pigs and goats. By 1953 the USDA stopped advocating the use of KUDZU and in 1972 it was declared to be a weed !

Today, KUDZU covers 7 million acres of land in the southeast and is spreading at a rate of 120,000 acres a year. Although KUDZU causes much damage and I’m sure that the cost to keep it contained must be astronomical there seems to be little that the states have done to keep it in check. I do know, however, that in Florida and Mississippi they are experimenting with grazing goats amid the KUDZU.

But I keep thinking that a country that is not as “rich” as ours would surely have taken advantage of this voluptuous crop long before now. KUDZU has great nutritional value and can be fed to most livestock. The vines are excellent basket making material and many food products can be made from the plant. More importantly, KUDZU shows great potential for medicine.

Can you imagine any of the impoverished countries of the world letting an abundant crop such as this go to waste ... and, what’s worse, complaining about it?

Something to ponder…..

8 Comments:

Blogger Anvilcloud said...

Kudzu!!

Well, bless you. :)

7:54 AM  
Blogger kenju said...

I do think that kudzu ought to be exploited for its possible food and medicinal resources, and I am surprised that more hasn't been done about that over the years.

8:12 AM  
Blogger Diana said...

My daughter, Ginny, once posted a photo of Kudzu in the shape of Jesus. It was pretty interesting. As was this post. I didn't know the history of it. Thanks Ginnie!
Love Di ♥

9:44 AM  
Blogger steveroni said...

I'm pondering, Ginnie. We saw loads of that stuff in TN, GA, and NC (where they all come together. I thought it was quite beautiful, but did wonder "who is living under there?"

Well, if it don't taste like HERSHEY BARS (without nuts!) then I don't want any...OK?

Maybe the poor countries don't either?

11:03 AM  
Blogger Syd said...

I didn't know the entire history of it. But certainly if it could be exploited and harvested then it it something that needs to be considered.

7:13 PM  
Blogger Beatrice P. Boyd said...

After reading your post, Ginnie, I did a loopkup and found out even more about Kudzu than I ever knew. Seems it can be quite invasive, but also has some good uses as you noted. Thanks for the info.

1:07 PM  
Blogger Cazzie!!! said...

We have acreeper here that takes over everything too. My mum had to pull her wooden fence down once because it had got too heavy (the creeper that is) and the fence was falling over.
MY friend has one on her garage and it invades the whole backyard..just when you think you got rid of it it returns fast and furious...lol It would be great if it did have beneficial properties.

8:36 AM  
Blogger possum said...

I remember the first time I saw the "world" covered by Kudzu. I was amazed! We were on our way to Alabama and passed mile after mile of it covering the trees along the road.
So far it has not reached the Eastern Shore of VA, and may it never make it across the Chesapeake! We have enough with VA Creeper, poison ivy, and those nasty briars!
But, I am sure you have educated some folks who still have never heard of it! Good job!

8:26 AM  

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