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Pueraria montana lobata - (Willd.) Sanjappa & Pradeep.

Common Name Kudzu Vine
Family Fabaceae or Leguminosae
USDA hardiness 5-9
Known Hazards Although no specific mention has been found for this species, the leaves of the closely related P. hirsuta (which might be no more than a synonym for this species) have barbed hairs and these can cause severe irritation[151]. Possible interaction with antiplatelet and antidiabetic medication. Rare case of a patient developing bleeding after surgery possibly due to Kudzu [301].
Habitats Thickets and thin woods all over Japan[58].
Range E. Asia - China, Japan, Korea.
Edibility Rating    (4 of 5)
Other Uses    (4 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (5 of 5)
Care (info)
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Full sun
Pueraria montana lobata Kudzu Vine

Pueraria montana lobata Kudzu Vine


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Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of flower
Pueraria montana lobata is a PERENNIAL CLIMBER growing to 10 m (32ft 10in) at a fast rate.
See above for USDA hardiness. It is hardy to UK zone 6 and is not frost tender. It is in flower from September to October. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and is pollinated by Insects.
It can fix Nitrogen.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: mildly acid, neutral and basic (mildly alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers moist soil and can tolerate drought.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


Dolichos hirsutus. Pueraria hirsuta. Pueraria triloba. Pachyrhizus thunbergianus.

Plant Habitats

Woodland Garden Sunny Edge; Dappled Shade; Ground Cover; Cultivated Beds;

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Flowers  Leaves  Root  Shoots
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% starch, this can be extracted and used as a crispy coating in deep fried foods, or for thickening soups etc[174, 183]. It can also be made into noodles, or like agar or gelatine is used as a gelling agent for salads[183]. This plant is 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 fiber, 0.8 fat, 34 mg Ca, 20 mg P, 4.9 mg Fe, 0.03 mg thiamin, 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  Antihistamine  Antineoplastics  Antipruritic  Antipsoriatic  Antipyretic  
Antispasmodic  Antivinous  Cardiac  Demulcent  Depurative  Diaphoretic  Dysentery  
Febrifuge  Galactogogue  Hypoglycaemic  Hypotensive  Styptic

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 galactogogue 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  Fodder  Paper  Soil reclamation  Soil stabilization

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]. Can be used as a ground cover plant in a sunny position[188]. Plants 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 Leguminosae, so it adds nitrogen to the soil through the actions of root bacteria.

Special Uses

Carbon Farming  Ground cover  Nitrogen Fixer  Scented Plants

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

Agroforestry Services: Nitrogen  Fodder: Bank  Fodder: Pasture  Industrial Crop: Fiber  Management: Hay  Minor Global Crop  Staple Crop: Protein

Grows best on well-drained loam soil of good fertility[269]. 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]. Plants cannot stand waterlogging on any soil[269]. A deep-rooted pant, once established it is very drought resistant[171, 269]. The plant is reported to tolerate an annual precipitation in the range of 97 to 214cm, an annual mean temperature in the range of 12.2 to 26.7°C, and a pH of 5.0 to 7.1[269]. Plants are hardy to about -15°c, they can resprout from the base if they are cut down by frosts[200]. A twining plant, the top growth is not generally hardy in Britain and plants do not always flower here[1]. Plants can be grown as annuals in Britain, the seed is started off in a greenhouse and is planted out after the last frosts[1]. They can grow up to 6 metres in their first year and make good temporary screens[1]. The plant succeeds outdoors in Berlin, but it has to be propagated vegetatively there[74]. This plant is cultivated for its edible root in Japan and China[183]. The flowers have a sweet vanilla scent[245]. When grown in warmer climates than Britain 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), has swamped out native vegetation, including large trees. It is considered to be one of the most obnoxious weeds in that region[274]. 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].

Carbon Farming

  • Agroforestry Services: Nitrogen  Plants that contribute to nitrogen fixation include the legume family – Fabaceae.
  • Fodder: Bank  Fodder banks are plantings of high-quality fodder species. Their goal is to maintain healthy productive animals. They can be utilized all year, but are designed to bridge the forage scarcity of annual dry seasons. Fodder bank plants are usually trees or shrubs, and often legumes. The relatively deep roots of these woody perennials allow them to reach soil nutrients and moisture not available to grasses and herbaceous plants.
  • Fodder: Pasture  Enclosed tracts of farmland mainly of grasses, with an interspersion of legumes and other forbs (non-grass herbaceous plants).
  • Industrial Crop: Fiber  Clothing, rugs, sheets, blankets etc. Currently, almost none of our fiber are produced from perennial crops but could be!
  • Management: Hay  Cut to the ground and harvested annually. Non-destructive management systems maintaining the soil organic carbon.
  • Minor Global Crop  These crops are already grown or traded around the world, but on a smaller scale than the global perennial staple and industrial crops, The annual value of a minor global crop is under $1 billion US. Examples include shea, carob, Brazil nuts and fibers such as ramie and sisal.
  • Staple Crop: Protein  (16+ percent protein, 0-15 percent oil). Annuals include beans, chickpeas, lentils, cowpeas, and pigeon peas. Perennials include perennial beans, nuts, leaf protein concentrates, and edible milks.

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

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 :

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther
Pueraria montanaKudzu VinePerennial Climber10.0 10-12 FMHNM453
Pueraria montana chinensisMealy KudzuPerennial Climber2.0 -  LMHNM03 
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


(Willd.) Sanjappa & Pradeep.

Botanical References


Links / References

For a list of references used on this page please go here

Readers comment

A.Passmoore   Thu Nov 20 17:57:47 2003

Extracting starch from the roots is challenging. Has anyone devised a productive at-home method? After a laborious experiment with ~20 lbs of roots, I got the feeling industrial-strength equipment is required if you wish to refine any measurable quantity.

A. Muskat   Thu May 26 01:48:52 2005

Fresh leaf (mature? each leaflet 3-5" in North Carolina in late May) works as a small tamale wrap; very similar to grape leaves

Abayomi   Mon Sep 4 2006

In harmony with the commentary calling this "one of the most obnoxious weeds" this is being talked about as the most dangerous plant in Bermuda - prolific at choking other plants and highly resistant to being destroyed. That said, it is good to know it has both edible and medicinal uses.

Peter B. Kaufman   Wed Mar 28 2007

I am trying to locate a source of seeds of Pueraria montana lobata derived from plants that grow in northern part of its U.S. range as well as from plants that grow in the southern part of its U.S. range for a field study on medicinally important isoflavones. We need ca. 20 grams of seeds from each of these kudzu "ecotypes". Our field trial will start in spring, 2007. Your help in finding a source(s) for these kudzu seeds is greatly appreciated. Kind regards, Peter B. Kaufman, Ph.D. Senior Scientist, Univ. of Michigan Integrative Medicine Program (e-mail: [email protected])

rafa garcia   Sun Jul 22 2007

Any known supplier of kudzu seeds? Thanks

gaea redwood   Sat Oct 6 2007

Kudzu vine grows wild all over Alabama. This states it is found in Asia. In fact it has swallowed whole forests here. It would be fabulous to put this to good use.. i am going out to find a good selection of the stems to use as galactogogue. thanks for this information.

Jon   Tue Feb 5 2008

i need a supplier of these seeds. anyone know where i can get them?

David   Tue Nov 25 2008

A very useful plant - in warm climates, notoriously the southeastern US, it has naturalized and is incredibly destructive and invasive. The plant can spread over acres, and will smother forests and abandoned structures. The flowers can be made into jams, preserves and other dessert items. Due to the uncontrollable nature of the plant, care should be exercised in attempts at cultivation; in much of the US the seed is not commercially available.

ethnoplants   Tue Nov 25 2008

hello! you can have a KUDZU seeds in ethnoplants

ethnoplants kudzu seeds

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