Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The Plant That Ate the South

Today's Wonder of the World is...Kudzu!
You probably know about kudzu. But in case you don't...

This, my friends, is kudzu. See how it's invading this house? A little spooky, huh?
Kudzu is a vine that we love and hate in the South. Once established, it grows about 12 inches a day! No kidding! It tends to take over things.
Like houses.

(Thanks, Jonathan VanBuren!)
And light poles.

He's playing golf.
Sometimes it changes trees into people playing Tag.

Tag! We just talked about Tag! I love it when that happens!
There's a whole zoo of kudzu animals to see HERE.

If we don't watch out, kudzu will get us too!

That man just might be a prime candidate for one of the benefits of kudzu. It's being studied as a treatment for hangovers and preventing alcohol cravings. (Just guessing here. No offense, kudzu guy.)
As wrapped up in kudzu as he is, he also reminds me of the Light People.

Have you heard about the Light People of Pelzer, South Carolina? They wrap themselves up in lights at Christmas time and wave at people passing by. Why? Because it's fun. And to raise money for Breast Cancer Research. Aren't South Carolinians great?

Anyway, back to kudzu.
I've heard rumors it's heading towards the railways!

At least its flowers are pretty!

And you can make jelly from them.
And baskets from the vines.

This is Ruth Duncan, a kudzu basket maker in Greenville, Alabama.
She better watch out. See all that green behind her? It might just be about to make its move and send her running, the green tendrils reaching for her feet, as she turns into a screaming basket case!
Or maybe not.

Be careful out there!
Love, Becky


Kalynne Pudner said...

Kudzu jelly? Here I am in Alabama, and I never heard of that! Have you tried it, Becky? What does it taste like?

Y'know, if there's kudzu jelly, then kudzu wine can't be far behind.

Kathryn said...

That is really spooky!!!

Suzie said...

Kudzu never heard of it but very cool.

I would love to be you friend by the way blog roll me away.

Rosemary said...

I thought my morning glory grew fast.
I have never heard of kudzu. You learn something everyday!!
Have a great day!

Sherri@The Wheat Five said...

I have a love/hate relationship with kudzu myself...I think it's pretty sometimes (like when it turns things into different looking things,btw,the golfer looks more like an angel to me) but it's invasivemess is annoying.

I haven't heard of the light people but I have been to Tiny Town around Christmas(just another one of many place my mil drags us along to,lol)...I didn't really enjoy it,ha ha.

Rebecca Ramsey said...

Kalynne, I will let you know. I'm going to have to do a taste test. And you're right! I'm sure there's kudzu wine out there somewhere.

Kathryn it is spooky! A lot of the trees around here look like kudzu zombies!

Thanks Suzie!
Rosemary, I'm glad I could broaden your world to include kudzu madness!

Sherri, I do see the angel. I've heard of Tiny Town but have never been there. You've got to see the Light People though. It's an experience. (I could say it's enlightening but I wouldn't do that!)

Nilz said...

Wonder of the World - yes, after reading the post and watching photos - I agree with you - this must be one of the wonders of world.

Sherry/Cherie said...

I'd heard of kudzu but had never seen it -- so now I'll know what to look for...and now I hope I come across the word or someone asking me what it is!!! You have the BEST information Becky!!

And I love the "light people" -- now that is just awesome and that they do this to raise money for breast cancer -- ^5!!!!

Elise said...


Kudzu...ah, the south. It softens up all of our sharp edges, doesn't it? Hey, just noticed your new picture...wew didn't get to vote for that one. I definitely would have chosen that one. IT is very cool and shows SC as well as France! Nice choice...


Martin LaBar said...

One of these photos was taken by me, under a creative commons license which requires attribution. I realize that the URL of the photo includes my name, but I (and probably the creators of the other photos) would have appreciated at least their names under the photos.


May Vanderbilt said...

Ooh! What a wonderfully whimsical post! And how it makes me miss the South.

Wow! I'm shocked at how many people have never heard of this. I guess when you grow up in the South it is quite literally...everywhere.

Randy and Linda said...

A Frenchman who worked here in SC in my department for 6-months, commented one day as I was driving him to the Blue Ridge Mtns to show him some of our scenery. He said he liked this Kudzu that don't have in France and said it was "beautiful and flowing like a woman's hair". I understand that you can cook and eat it like spinach, collard greens, or swiss chard, except that you have to boil it for at least 1/2 hour to get the bitterness out. As an uncooked green in salad - way to bitter. The more processing the better tasting it becomes! I did see one guy on a TV interview suggesting it as a bio-fuel crop, but I think we should try sugarcane first, like they have done so successfully in Brazil.
I see you have your new blog-image, and I think you played it safe with a conservative figurine and liberal with the big Gaffney you-know-what in the sky.
Thanks for the fun topics.

Our Juicy Life said...

I have never heard of Kudzu, kind of creepy (no pun intended). Reminds me of the spanish moss in Florida. I've never seen something grow over basically everything.

Barb said...

Oh My! That is kind of creepy. Are you sure you are safe there? You are always welcome to come out to AZ- no Kudzu here, just jumping cactus.

Rebecca Ramsey said...

Martin, I am sorry. When the pictures are listed on flickr with a creative commons license requested, I try my hardest to make a note of it. Sometimes I do make mistakes. I am out of town at the moment and just now saw your note. If you look at my back postings you'll see I usually do give credit when requested. Please accept my apology.

TattingChic said...

I have NEVER heard of kudzu before. Thank you for educating me!

Charlotte Fairchild said...

http://www.kudzus.blogspot.com has over 150 questions and also some recipes for kudzu.

If you make mint jelly, use kudzu and you can also leave out the mint if you want. Just process and strain the greens. It is related to snow peas. No bitterness. Whoever said kudzu is bitter never tasted it raw! It is sweeter than anything green in the stores. No genetic modification, no poisons, no fertilizers (which increases estrogens) and no irrigation.

O.C. Stonestreet at news@statesville.com said that the basket makers for balloons are using kudzu vines in places.

Cathy ~ Tadpoles and Teacups said...

Kudzu has a firm grip on parts of where we live in Northeast Georgia too. A friend nearby has a kudzu tree that looks like Winnie the Pooh.
Love the Kudzu golfing.

nancytoday said...

I plan to sit for awhile and watch it grow this summer! I'm going to try cooking up the new tender shoots. Wish me luck! I've harvested some vines and am going to sit in the carport and make a basket tomorrow! I'm in Athens, Ga at the moment!