[permaculture] Thoughts about Kudzu and other useful, underutilized plants from Hugh Lovel

Harmon Seaver hseaver at gmail.com
Thu Feb 21 13:39:18 EST 2008

Lawrence F. London, Jr. wrote:
> -------- Original Message --------
> Date: Thu, 21 Feb 2008 11:08:52 +1000
> From: Hugh Lovel <hugh.lovel9 at bigpond.com>
> Reply-To: Biodynamic Food and Farming Discussion <bdnow at envirolink.org>
> Organization: Ag Physics
> If you saw what kudzu (Pueraria montana var. lobata)  does in the Torres
> Straits and elsewhere 

   If you saw what it does in the American South, you would be aghast.

> it might be more apparent what makes this species so
> beloved in Japan where it has long been established. 

    And where it is native and there are a plenitude of things that keep
it in check.

> This plant can heal
> atom bomb scars and the worst of erosion/bulldozer/agricultural disasters.
> Had it grown in the American Southwest in ancient times, I believe the Grand
> Canyon (the most spectacular example of soil erosion in the world) would
> never have developed. This plant is easily controlled by grazing, as every
> grazing species loves its rich nutrition and grazes it to death if allowed
> to-waxing fat in the process.

   Yes, it's great for cows, but what about our parks, forests, etc??
Kudzu is pretty damn destructive of natural plant communities.

  The whole concept of introducing non-native species is one that needs
a lot of very careful thought and study. Sure, there are exotics that
can be used  -- after all, a lot of the food species we grow in our
gardens are not native, or at least not native to our particular local.
And we are having problems with native species being supplanted simply
because of the climate change we are now undergoing.
   But there are probably quite a few exotics that are simply far too
opportunistic and invasive to even consider. Planting something like
kudzu in an area where the ground doesn't freeze solid each year is
probably not only irresponsible, but may well be criminal. I know in WI
the DNR is drawing up a list of plants they intend to make illegal.

Harmon Seaver

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