Saturday, February 18, 2006

The Vine That Ate the South

Can you find the house in the photo? Having trouble? It is easy to spot if you are from the South. Believe it or not, there is a house underneath all that Kudzu vine.

Kudzu was introduced to the United States in 1876 at the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia. Countries were invited to build exhibits to celebrate the 100th birthday of the U.S. The Japanese government constructed a beautiful garden filled with plants from their country. The large leaves and sweet-smelling blooms of kudzu captured the imagination of American gardeners who used the plant for ornamental purposes.

During the Great Depression of the 1930s, the Soil Conservation Service promoted kudzu for erosion control across the Southeast. Hundreds of young men were given work planting kudzu through the Civilian Conservation Corps. Then in 1953, the U.S. government stopped advocating the use of kudzu, because they began to realize how invasive it was, not to mention almost impossible to kill!

The climate of the Southeastern U.S. is perfect for kudzu. The vines grow as much as a foot per day during summer months, climbing trees, power poles, and anything else they contact. Under ideal conditions kudzu vines can grow sixty feet each year!


Bored yet? Ok, I know. This was a lame post. I can't be brilliantly entertaining EVERY day. :)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Your understated brilliance is growing like kudzu, you.