Fact Sheets


Pueraria montana (Lour.) Merr.

Family :

Famille :


Synonym(s) :

Synonyme(s) :

Dolichos montanus Lour. (POWO 2022; Tropicos 2022)
Pachyrhizus montanus (Lour.) DC. (Tropicos 2022)
Pueraria lobata var. montana (Lour.) Maesen                   (POWO 2022)
Pueraria thunbergiana var. formosana Hosok.                  (Tropicos 2022)
Pueraria tonkinensis Gagnep. (Tropicos 2022)

Common Name(s) :

Nom(s) commun(s) :


(English) (GC 2016; USDA-ARS 2022)
Kudzu (French) (GC 2016)

  • Kudzu (Pueraria montana) seeds

  • Kudzu (Pueraria montana) seeds

  • Kudzu (Pueraria montana) seed, hilum view

  • Kudzu (Pueraria montana) seed

  • Pueraria montana subsp. lobata

  • Pueraria montana subsp. lobata

  • Pueraria montana subsp. lobata

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Regulation :

Remarques Réglementation:

  • CFIA Weed Seeds Order - Class 1: Prohibited Noxious Weed Seeds
  • List of Pests Regulated by Canada
  • USA Federal Noxious Weed Seed List

Regulation Notes:

Prohibited Noxious, Class 1 in the Canadian Weed Seeds Order (2016) under the Seeds Act. All imported and domestic seed must be free of Prohibited Noxious weed seeds.

Distribution :

Répartition :

Native to eastern and southeastern Asia and introduced to southern Australia, South America, South Africa, New Zealand, central and eastern Europe and the United States (Lindgren et al. 2013). There are severe infestations in the southeastern United States (Forseth and Innis 2004; Lindgren et al. 2013). In Canada, there is one known population in southern Ontario that is under official control (Lindgren et al. 2013).

Habitat and Crop Association :

Habitat et Cultures Associées :

Abandoned fields and field edges, grasslands, pastures, natural forests, plantations, fencerows, roadsides, riverbanks and urban areas with fertile, well-drained soil (Lindgren et al. 2013).

Economic Use, cultivation area, and Weed Association :

Utilisation économique, zone de culture et association de mauvaises herbes :

Duration of Life Cycle :

Durée du cycle vital:


Dispersal Unit Type :

Type d’unité de dispersion :


General Information


Pueraria montana was planted as a soil stabilizer and for soil nutrition in the 1930s to the 1950s in the southeastern United States, where it persists today (Lindgren et al. 2013). In China and Japan, it is cultivated for forage, starch, food and medicine (Forseth and Innis 2004; Lindgren et al. 2013).

In recent years it has also been considered for biofuel use (Sage et al. 2009). In its native range, P. montana grows best in areas with mild winters, hot summers and at least 100 cm of annual precipitation (Lindgren et al. 2013). It is known for its rapid vegetative growth and for altering forest canopy structure, quickly overwhelming native species and changing soil microbes and other important ecosystem functions (Forseth and Innis 2004; Lindgren et al. 2013).


Pueraria montana infestation (Kerry Britton, USDA Forest Service, Bugwood.org)



  • Legume


    • Legume length: 40.0 – 140.0 mm long; width: 6.0 – 13.0 mm (eFloras 2017)


    • Legume is long, oblong or oval shaped, flattened

    Surface Texture

    • Legume surface is densely hairy


    • Legume is dull green with brown hairs, legume turns brown with age

    Other Features

    • The densely hairy calyx is 8.0 – 18.0 mm long and persistent at the end of the legume with pointed lobes (Lindgren et al. 2013)
  • Seed


    • Seed length*: 3.1 – 5.0 mm; width: 2.5 – 3.3 mm
    *Note: minimum and maximum of 20 seeds in a normal range of this species using image measurement (ISMA 2020)


    • Oval, D-shaped or kidney-shaped seed, compressed in edge view

    Surface Texture

    • Surface texture is smooth


    • Seed generally shiny reddish-brown (some with black mottles or strips) or brown with black mottles

    Other Features

    Hilum and hilum area

    • The hilum is located in the middle of the long edge of the seed
    • A ring of light yellow aril tissue surrounds the hilum
  • Embryo


    • Embryo fills the seed


    • Embryo bent, with oval or D-shaped cotyledons


    • Endosperm absent, nutritive tissue stored in the cotyledons

    Other Features

    • Cotyledons are fleshy and soft-textured

Identification Tips


Seeds of Pueraria montana are generally larger-seeded among commonly encountered Fabaceae species, excepting genera such as Phaselosus. Another distinguishing feature is the thick, ring shaped aril tissue around the hilum and the black mottled seed pattern.

Additional Botany Information



  • Flowers are clustered together along the flowering stem and have mixed light and dark purple or reddish purple petals with a yellow base (Lindgren et al. 2013)

Vegetative Features

  • Plants are vines, woody at the base, and can grow up to 30 meters long, the stems and pods are densely hairy (Lindgren et al. 2013)

Similar Species


Similar species are based on a study of seed morphology of various species, and those with similar dispersal units are identified. The study is limited by physical specimen and literature availability at the time of examination, and possibly impacted by the subjectivity of the authors based on their knowledge and experience. Providing similar species information for seed identification is to make users aware of similarities that could possibly result in misidentification.

Onobrychis viciifolia Scop. (sainfoin)

O. viciifolia seeds are generally smaller (length*: 2.6 – 4.4 mm; width: 2.1-3.3mm) do not have coloured mottles and the ring of tissue around the hilum is thinner than P. montana. The single-seeded legume is smaller than P. montana (length*: 5.5-8.4; width: 4.2 – 7.0 mm) does not open at maturity and shed with the seed inside, while P. montana legumes are many-seeded and split open at maturity to shed the seeds.

*Note: minimum and maximum of 10 seeds and pods in a normal range of this species using image measurement (ISMA 2020)

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eFloras. 2021. Electronic Floras. Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA., http://www.efloras.org Accessed January 17, 2022.

Forseth, I. N. and Innis, A. F. 2004. Kudzu (Pueraria montana): History, physiology, and ecology combine to make a major ecosystem threat. Critical Reviews in Plant Sciences 23: 401-413.

Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) Secretariat. 2022. https://doi.org/10.15468/39omei Accessed via https://www.gbif.org/species/2977636 Accessed December 29, 2022.

Government of Canada (GC). 2016. Canadian Weed Seeds Order. https://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/regulations/SOR-2016-93/page-2.html (English) https://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/fra/reglements/DORS-2016-93/page-2.html (French)

International Seed Morphology Association (ISMA). 2020. Method for Seed Size Measurement. Version 1.0. ISMA Publication Guide. https://www.idseed.org/authors/details/method_for_seed_size_measurement.html

Lindgren, C. J., Castro, K. L., Coiner, H. A., Nurse, R. E. and Darbyshire, S. J. 2013. The biology of invasive alien plants in Canada. 12. Pueraria montana var. lobata (Willd.) Sanjappa & Predeep. Canadian Journal of Plant Science 93:71-95.

Plants of the World Online (POWO). 2022. Facilitated by the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Published on the Internet; http://www.plantsoftheworldonline.org/ Accessed March 11, 2022.

Sage, R. F., Coiner, H. A., Way, D. A., Runion, G. B., Prior S. A., Torbert H. A., Sicher, R., and Ziska, L. 2009. Kudzu [Pueraria montana (Lour.) Merr. variety lobata]: A new source of carbohydrate for bioethanol production. Biomass and Bioenergy 33: 57-61.

Tropicos.org. 2022. Missouri Botanical Garden. https://tropicos.org Accessed March 11, 2022.

U.S. Department of Agriculture-Natural Resources Conservation Service (USDA-NRCS). 2022. The PLANTS Database. National Plant Data Team, Greensboro, NC USA. http://plants.usda.gov Accessed December 29, 2022.



Jennifer Neudorf, Angela Salzl, Ruojing Wang, Karen Castro, Katrina Entwistle
Canadian Food Inspection Agency