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What is Kudzu good for?


Here is kudzu - for those of you in the North who have never seen it!  As you can see, it is the world's most complete ground cover - it will grab you if you stand still too long!  But it does have a few uses.

Kudzu honey, for example,  has a lovely dark color and an interesting rich sweet flavor.

Kudzu vines have been used to weave baskets.  The vines are heavy, so the baskets are an open weave - not for carrying water!

And here's a suggestion from Linda, our Georgia Peach: If you like the look of the grapevine wreaths, but don't want to yank your own grapevines up or buy the more expensive ones, try Kudzu!!<!--?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" ?-->

"Works like a charm (says Linda).  I tried this several years ago.  I used to harvest the kudzu toward the end of summer, but Julia Benson suggested waiting until after the first frost that would kill off the foliage! (Not to mention the sap.)

"It's not poisonous like poison oak & ivy, but it does itch!  A good washing takes care of the itching.

"After you've pulled the kudzu up in the long strands, defoliate it and wrap it into the shape you want it to dry to.  I've done hearts, circles, ovals, some twisty shapes (real freelance! <g>).  After I got the shape, I tied string around the stems to hold the shape while the wreath dried.  Then have fun decorating!  You can decorate just like you would any grapevine wreath!


"Sorry - Northerners where no kudzu grows!, but I don't think your neighbors would appreciate you planting the stuff!!!! <VBG>




"How long does it take to dry? In the past, I've harvested in August/September, did the shaping, and hung them in my parent's basement.  I don't use them until late October/November.  They may be ready before that!   All you're waiting is for the vine to dry enough so that it holds the shape you want.  But, if you were in a hurry, you could force the shape by using some florist wire (the brown, not the green <g>)."

Check out this website of University of South Carolina for more information and pictures. 

Uploaded: 2/21/2004