[permaculture] The March of Kudzu.
Margaret L. Wilson
booldawgs at frontiernet.net
Sun Apr 20 11:28:06 EDT 2008
Thank you for all the information. I have heard that it is terribly
invasive but I didn't know all the details. I read about it being good
forage, similar to alfalfa, 20 or so years ago. I believe it was in
Countryside magazine. It has always been in the back of my mind that it was
a useful plant. I guess not :-))) I think it is considered an invasive
weed here in Oregon. I guess I am very lucky that I have never even seen
it. They were really cool pictures though.
----- Original Message -----
From: <Marimike6 at cs.com>
To: <permaculture at lists.ibiblio.org>
Sent: Sunday, April 20, 2008 5:48 AM
Subject: Re: [permaculture] The March of Kudzu.
> Margaret says:
> "It seems like such a waste if this can be used as
> forage or even a human food. It looks like it would feed a lot of cows or
> sheep if it is a forage. I have never lived where this stuff grows but I
> have read a bit about it. Why isn't it being fed to livestock or used for
> biofuel or something useful. I have to work, really work to grow enough
> forage for my livestock. This is too easy."
> Unfortunately, I have of necessity become something of a kudzu expert.
> 1. Why isn't it being fed to livestock? A starving goat would probably eat
> some. Otherwise, for reasons known only to them, it is not popular with
> 2. Why isn't it used for biofuel? Its habit is a huge tangle of vines.
> hard to harvest efficiently and bulky. It doesn't compress well. One ton
> harvested kudzu would represent an awful lot of work, and would require
> trailer loads to transport.
> 3. Does it have any virtue whatsoever? Yes, it was originally established
> here to stabilize steep slopes-- which it does very well. Unfortunately
> stabilized slopes then become useless for anything but supporting
> proportions of rampant kudzu.
> An infusion of the leaves in tea is said by the Japanese to be a good cure
> for alcoholism. Of course, their kudzu very likely has alkaloids in
> proportion than ours.
> The starch in the root mills very fine, and is a useful flour for art
> projects, like potato printing. It is also nutritious and can be used like
> ordinary flour. Digging up the roots requires prodigious energy though--
> digging turnips if the turnip roots were five feet long, with their nether
> tangled up in China. There are easier ways to feed your pigs, although
> they would
> probably like it.
> Final positive trait: In August they have a very pretty little flower,
> smells exactly like grape soda. A cluster of them looks a lot like
> My suggestion: if you do not presently have kudzu on your property, get
> on the ground and kiss it. Under no circumstances try to see if you can
> just a little bit of it. That would be like trying to start a little
> fire on a breezy day.
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