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Pueraria montana - (Lour.) Merr.

Common Name Kudzu Vine
Family Fabaceae
USDA hardiness 10-12
Known Hazards Although no specific mention has been found for this species, the leaves of the closely related Pueraria hirsuta (which might be no more than a synonym for this species) have barbed hairs and these can cause severe irritation[151 ].
Habitats Thickets and thin woods all over Japan[58 ].
Range E. Asia - China, Japan, Korea, Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines. New Guinea,th the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu.
Edibility Rating    (4 of 5)
Other Uses    (3 of 5)
Weed Potential Yes
Medicinal Rating    (5 of 5)
Care (info)
Tender Moist Soil Full sun
Pueraria montana Kudzu Vine

Pueraria montana Kudzu Vine


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Pueraria montana or Kudzu Vine is a fast-growing perennial vine with extensive root system consisting of a tuberous root stock. It grows about 2 m long and 45cm in diameter. The flowers are reddish-purple and fragrant. The fruits are hairy, long, and flat pods containing three seeds. The leaves are comprised of three oval or triangular leaflets each. Kudzu vine is commonly used in Chinese herbal medicine to treat alcoholism, fever, colds, diarrhea, dysentery, angina pectoris, migraine, measles, boils, swellings, mouth sores, etc. The roots, a staple food in Japan, are cooked or made into noodles. The flowers, young shoots, roots and young leaves can be cooked. The flowers can also be pickled. Aside from the above-mentioned uses, also functions as ground cover and fiber from its stems are made into ropes, cables, coarse cordage, etc.

Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of flower
Pueraria montana is a deciduous Perennial Climber growing to 10 m (32ft) by 0.3 m (1ft in) at a fast rate.
See above for USDA hardiness. It is hardy to UK zone 10. The flowers are pollinated by Bees, Insects. The plant is not self-fertile.
It can fix Nitrogen.
Suitable for: medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: mildly acid, neutral and basic (mildly alkaline) soils and can grow in very acid soils.
It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers moist soil.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


Bujacia anonychia E. Mey. Dolichos grandiflorus Wall. Dolichos grandifolius Wall. Dolichos hirsutus

Plant Habitats

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Flowers  Leaves  Root  Shoots  Stem
Edible Uses:

Root - cooked[105 , 171 ]. Rich in starch[109 ]. The root can be up to 1.8 metres long[174 ] and has been known to weigh 35 kilos or more[269 ]. The root contains about 10% of a fine quality starch - this can be extracted and used as a crispy coating in deep fried foods, or as a thickening agent in soups etc[174 , 183 , 303 ]. It can also be made into noodles, or like agar or gelatine is used as a gelling agent for salads[183 ]. The roots are a staple food in Japan, the peeled root contains about 2.1% protein, 0.1% fat, 27.1% carbohydrate, 1.4% ash[179 ]. The starch of the roots contains (per 100 g) 340 calories, 16.5 percent moisture, 0.2 g protein, 0.1 g fat, 83.1 g total carbohydrate, 0.1 g ash, 35 mg Ca, 18 mg P, 2.0 mg Fe, and 2 mg Na[269 ]. A nutritional analysis for the whole root is available. Flowers - cooked or made into pickles[183 ]. Stems and young leaves - raw or cooked[105 ]. A very nutritious food, the fresh young shoots taste like a cross between a bean and a pea[183 ]. The cooked leaves contain (per 100 g) 36 calories, 89.0 percent moisture, 0.4 g protein, 0.1 g fat, 9.7 g total carbohydrate. 7.7 g fibre, 0.8 fat, 34 mg Ca, 20 mg P, 4.9 mg Fe, 0.03 mg thiamine, 0.91 mg riboflavin, 0.8 mg niacin[269 ].

References   More on Edible Uses

Figures in grams (g) or miligrams (mg) per 100g of food.
Root (Fresh weight)
  • 113 Calories per 100g
  • Water : 68.6%
  • Protein: 2.1g; Fat: 0.1g; Carbohydrate: 27.8g; Fibre: 0.7g; Ash: 1.4g;
  • Minerals - Calcium: 15mg; Phosphorus: 18mg; Iron: 0.6mg; Magnesium: 0mg; Sodium: 0mg; Potassium: 0mg; Zinc: 0mg;
  • Vitamins - A: 0mg; Thiamine (B1): 0mg; Riboflavin (B2): 0mg; Niacin: 0mg; B6: 0mg; C: 0mg;
  • Reference: [ 269]
  • Notes:

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.
Antidiarrhoeal  Antidote  Antiemetic  Antipyretic  Antispasmodic  Demulcent  Diaphoretic  Digestive  
Dysentery  Febrifuge  Galactogogue  Hypoglycaemic  Hypotensive  Poultice  Skin  

The kudzu vine, known as Ge Gen in China, is commonly used in Chinese herbalism, where it is considered to be one of the 50 fundamental herbs[218 ]. Recent research has shown that compounds called 'daidzin' and 'daidzein', which are contained in the roots and the flowers, are a safe and effective method for treating alcohol abuse[238 ]. They work by suppressing the appetite for alcohol, whereas existing treatments interfere with the way the alcohol is metabolised and can cause a build-up of toxins[238 ]. The plant is often used in combination with Chrysanthemum x morifolium in treating alcohol abuse[254 ]. The flowers and the roots are antidote, antiemetic, antipyretic, antispasmodic, demulcent, diaphoretic, digestive, febrifuge, hypoglycaemic and hypotensive[174 , 176 , 218 , 222 , 238 ]. A concoction of the flowers and tubers is used to treat alcoholism, fever, colds, diarrhoea, dysentery, acute intestinal obstruction etc[174 , 176 , 218 , 222 ]. It is useful in the treatment of angina pectoris and migraine[218 ]. The root is frequently used as a remedy for measles, often in combination with Cimicifuga foetida[254 ]. The root contains puerarin. This increases the blood flow to the coronary artery and protects against acute myocardial ischaemia caused by the injection of pituitrin[176 ]. The root can be harvested from the autumn to the spring and is used fresh or dried[238 ]. The flowers are harvested just before they are fully open and are dried for later use[238 ]. The stems are galactagogue and are also applied as a poultice to incipient boils, swellings, sore mouths etc[218 , 222 ]. The seed is used in the treatment of hangover and dysentery[218 , 222 ]. The leaves are styptic[218 ].

References   More on Medicinal Uses

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Other Uses

Fibre  Paper  Soil reclamation  Soil stabilization  String

Agroforestry Uses: The plant can be used as a ground cover in a sunny position[188 ]. It can also be used to make a quick, temporary screen[1 ]. Plants are very fast-growing and have an extensive root system which can be 1.8 metres deep. They are used for erosion control and for rebuilding depleted soils[171 , 174 ]. A member of the Fabaceae, the plant also adds nitrogen to the soil through the actions of root bacteria. Other Uses A tough, strong fibre from the stems is used to make ropes, cables, coarse cordage and textiles[61 , 109 , 151 , 169 , 189 ]. The fibre is 2 - 3mm long and can be used to make paper. Straight first year stems, 2 - 2.7 metres long, are harvested in mid summer, the leaves are removed and the stems steamed until the fibres can be stripped. The fibres are then cooked for 2 hours with lye, tough vines might require 4 hours cooking, and the fibre put in a ball mill for 3 hours. The resulting paper is greenish/cream in colour[189 ].

Special Uses

Food Forest  Ground Cover  Nitrogen Fixer  Scented Plants

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

Kudzu vine can be grown in a wide range of climates from milder areas in the temperate zone to the subtropics and higher elevations in the tropics. It grows best in areas where annual daytime temperatures are within the range 18 - 28°c, but can tolerate 9 - 32°c[418 ]. When dormant, the plant can survive temperatures down to about -6°c, but young growth can be severely damaged at -1°c[418 ]. Plants are hardy to about -15°c, they can resprout from the base if they are cut down by frosts[200 ]. It prefers a mean annual rainfall in the range 1,200 - 1,400mm, but tolerates 950 - 2,200mm[418 ]. Succeeds in most well-drained soils in a sunny position[200 ], though it does not make good growth on very light poor sand or on poorly drained heavy clay[269 ]. Grows best on well-drained loam soil of good fertility[269 ]. Plants cannot stand waterlogging on any soil[269 ]. Prefers a pH in the range 5.5 - 6.5, tolerating 5 - 7.1[269 , 418 ]. A deep-rooted pant, once established it is very drought resistant[171 , 269 ]. When grown in warm climates, the root can be invasive and plants have become weeds[182 , 219 ]. Introduced into the southern N. American states in 1876 as a soil stabilizer, the plant has spread very widely (it can grow up to 30cm in a day), and has swamped out native vegetation, including large trees. It is considered to be one of the most obnoxious weeds in that region[274 ]. The tubers can be harvested about 1 year after planting, if grown from cuttings. If left longer in the soil they can become very large, with weights of up to 180 kilos[303 ]. Pueraria montana has three varieties. The form Pueraria montana lobata (Willd.) Sanjappa & Pradeep (formerly known as Pueraria lobata) is the form most commonly mentioned for its medicinal and other uses. The other varieties should be very similar in their applications[K ]. The flowers have a sweet vanilla scent[245 ]. This species has a symbiotic relationship with certain soil bacteria, these bacteria form nodules on the roots and fix atmospheric nitrogen. Some of this nitrogen is utilized by the growing plant but some can also be used by other plants growing nearby[200 ].

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

Temperature Converter

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Plant Propagation

Pre-soak the seed for 12 hours in warm water and sow in a warm greenhouse in early spring. Germination should take place within 2 weeks. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and plant them out after the last expected frosts[200 ]. Cover the young plants with a frame or cloche until they are growing away well. Division of young shoots from the crown. The young shoots are removed in the spring with some of the underground part of the stem, preferably with some roots already formed. They are potted up and will usually develop new roots from the nodes. They are planted out in the summer if growth is sufficient, otherwise they are grown on in pots for a year and planted out late the following spring.

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Thing-ba, arrowroot, japanese, chilg, fen ge, fenge, gan ge, gan ge teng, ge gen, ge hua, gegen, gégen, japanese arrowroot, kudsu, kudsubohne, kudzu, kudzu bean, kudzu hemp, kudzu vine, kudzu vine root, kudzubohne, kudzuranker, kudzuvine root, kuzu, lobed kudzuvine, mealy kudzu, mudgaparni, pueraria, pueraria flower, pueraria radix, pueraria root, puerariae flos, puerariae lobatae radix, puerariae radix, puerariae thomsonii radix, radix puerariae, radix puerariae lobatae, radix puerariae thomsonii, shan ge teng, surpaparni, taiwan kudzu, thomson kudzuvine root, wild kudzu, ye ge.

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Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Asia, India, Northeastern India,

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status : This taxon has not yet been assessed

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther
Pueraria montana chinensisMealy KudzuPerennial Climber2.0 -  LMHNM03 
Pueraria montana lobataKudzu VinePerennial Climber10.0 5-9 FLMHNM454
Pueraria phaseoloidesTropical KudzuClimber0.0 10-12 FLMHNM214
Pueraria pseudohirsutaTropical kudzuClimber0.0 0-0  LMHNM33 
Pueraria tuberosa Climber1.0 -  LMHNM22 

Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.


Expert comment


(Lour.) Merr.

Botanical References

Links / References

For a list of references used on this page please go here
A special thanks to Ken Fern for some of the information used on this page.

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