** 2016 Appeal ** In order to extend our coverage of climate zones, we’ve identified around 700 plants to add to our database. To do this properly and at the same time improve the usability of our website we need extra funds in addition to our regular level of income. more >>

   Bookmark and Share
    By donating to PFAF, you can help support and expand our activities
    Plant Suppliers: Click here for a List
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  
Medicinal Rating  
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Full sun


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

Synonyms Dolichos hirsutus. Pueraria hirsuta. Pueraria triloba. Pachyrhizus thunbergianus.
Pueraria montana lobata Kudzu Vine

Pueraria montana lobata Kudzu Vine
Woodland Garden Sunny Edge; Dappled Shade; Ground Cover; Cultivated Beds;
Edible Uses                                         
Edible Parts: Flowers;  Leaves;  Root.
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].
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;  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].
Other Uses
Fibre;  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.
Cultivation details                                         
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].
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.
Related Plants                                         
Plant Suppliers: Click here for a List

      You can download this page as a PDF

Expert comment                                         
(Willd.) Sanjappa & Pradeep.
Botanical References                                         
Links / References                                         

[1]F. Chittendon. RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956
Comprehensive listing of species and how to grow them. Somewhat outdated, it has been replaces in 1992 by a new dictionary (see [200]).
[58]Ohwi. G. Flora of Japan. (English translation)
The standard work. Brilliant, but not for the casual reader.
[61]Usher. G. A Dictionary of Plants Used by Man.
Forget the sexist title, this is one of the best books on the subject. Lists a very extensive range of useful plants from around the world with very brief details of the uses. Not for the casual reader.
[74]Komarov. V. L. Flora of the USSR.
An immense (25 or more large volumes) and not yet completed translation of the Russian flora. Full of information on plant uses and habitats but heavy going for casual readers.
[105]Tanaka. T. Tanaka's Cyclopaedia of Edible Plants of the World.
The most comprehensive guide to edible plants I've come across. Only the briefest entry for each species, though, and some of the entries are more than a little dubious. Not for the casual reader.
[109]Wilson. E. H. Plantae Wilsonae.
Details of the palnts collected by the plant collector E. H. Wilson on his travels in China. Gives some habitats. Not for the casual reader.
[151]Wilson. E. H. and Trollope. M. N. Corean Flora.
A very small handbook, it does give a little bit of information on Korean plants.
[169]Buchanan. R. A Weavers Garden.
Covers all aspects of growing your own clothes, from fibre plants to dyes.
[171]Hill. A. F. Economic Botany.
Not very comprehensive, but it is quite readable and goes into some a bit of detail about the plants it does cover.
[174]Kariyone. T. Atlas of Medicinal Plants.
A good Japanese herbal.
[176]Yeung. Him-Che. Handbook of Chinese Herbs and Formulas.
An excellent Chinese herbal giving information on over 500 species. Rather technical and probably best suited to the more accomplished user of herbs.
[179]Reid. B. E. Famine Foods of the Chiu-Huang Pen-ts'ao.
A translation of an ancient Chinese book on edible wild foods. Fascinating.
[182]Thomas. G. S. Ornamental Shrubs, Climbers and Bamboos.
Contains a wide range of plants with a brief description, mainly of their ornamental value but also usually of cultivation details and varieties.
[183]Facciola. S. Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants.
Excellent. Contains a very wide range of conventional and unconventional food plants (including tropical) and where they can be obtained (mainly N. American nurseries but also research institutes and a lot of other nurseries from around the world.
[188]Brickell. C. The RHS Gardener's Encyclopedia of Plants and Flowers
Excellent range of photographs, some cultivation details but very little information on plant uses.
[189]Bell. L. A. Plant Fibres for Papermaking.
A good practical section on how to make paper on a small scale plus details of about 75 species (quite a few of them tropical) that can be used.
[200]Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
[218]Duke. J. A. and Ayensu. E. S. Medicinal Plants of China
Details of over 1,200 medicinal plants of China and brief details of their uses. Often includes an analysis, or at least a list of constituents. Heavy going if you are not into the subject.
[219]Grey-Wilson. C. & Matthews. V. Gardening on Walls
A nice little book about plants for growing against walls and a small section on plants that can grow in walls.
[222]Foster. S. & Duke. J. A. A Field Guide to Medicinal Plants. Eastern and Central N. America.
A concise book dealing with almost 500 species. A line drawing of each plant is included plus colour photographs of about 100 species. Very good as a field guide, it only gives brief details about the plants medicinal properties.
[238]Bown. D. Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses.
A very well presented and informative book on herbs from around the globe. Plenty in it for both the casual reader and the serious student. Just one main quibble is the silly way of having two separate entries for each plant.
[245]Genders. R. Scented Flora of the World.
An excellent, comprehensive book on scented plants giving a few other plant uses and brief cultivation details. There are no illustrations.
[254]Chevallier. A. The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants
An excellent guide to over 500 of the more well known medicinal herbs from around the world.
[269]Duke. J. Handbook of Energy Crops
Published only on the Internet, excellent information on a wide range of plants.
[274]Diggs, Jnr. G.M.; Lipscomb. B. L. & O'Kennon. R. J Illustrated Flora of North Central Texas
An excellent flora, which is also available on-line.
[301]Karalliedde. L. and Gawarammana. I. Traditional Herbal Medicines
A guide to the safer use of herbal medicines.

Readers comment                                         
Elizabeth H.
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.
Elizabeth H.
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
Elizabeth H.
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.
Elizabeth H.
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: pbk@umich.edu)
Elizabeth H.
rafa garcia Sun Jul 22 2007
Any known supplier of kudzu seeds? Thanks
Elizabeth H.
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.
Elizabeth H.
Jon Tue Feb 5 2008
i need a supplier of these seeds. anyone know where i can get them?
Elizabeth H.
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.
Elizabeth H.
ethnoplants Tue Nov 25 2008
hello! you can have a KUDZU seeds in ethnoplants

ethnoplants kudzu seeds

QR Code

What's this?

This is a QR code (short for Quick Response) which gives fast-track access to our website pages. QR Codes are barcodes that can be read by mobile phone (smartphone) cameras. This QR Code is unique to this page. All plant pages have their own unique code. For more information about QR Codes click here.

1. Copy and print the QR code to a plant label, poster, book, website, magazines, newspaper etc and even t-shirts.
2. Smartphone users scan the QR Code which automatically takes them to the webpage the QR Code came from.
3. Smartphone users quickly have information on a plant directly for the pfaf.org website on their phone.
Rate This Plant                                         
Please rate this plants for how successful you have found it to be. You will need to be logged in to do this. Our intention is not to create a list of 'popular' plants but rather to highlight plants that may be rare and unusual and that have been found to be useful by website users. This hopefully will encourage more people to use plants that they possibly would not have considered before.
Add a comment/link                                         

If you have important information about this plant that may help other users please add a comment or link below. Only comments or links that are felt to be directly relevant to a plant will be included. If you think a comment/link or information contained on this page is inaccurate or misleading we would welcome your feedback at admin@pfaf.org. If you have questions about a plant please use the Forum on this website as we do not have the resources to answer questions ourselves.

* Please note: the comments by website users are not necessarily those held by PFAF and may give misleading or inaccurate information.

Subject : Pueraria montana lobata  

Links To add a link to another website with useful info add the details here
Name of Site
URL of Site