__________________________________________________________Looking like some weird creatures on a green planet, the trees below are completely engulfed in kudzu which also pours over the hillside, stopped only by the road below. We saw areas where the kudzu totally wrapped power poles and the guy wires all the way to the top, then grew back over itself if there was nothing else for it to latch onto. Creepy stuff, uh, so to speak.
If you are not familiar with kudzu, here is a description, courtesy of wikipedia:
Kudzu (クズ or 葛, Kuzu?), Pueraria lobata (syn. P. montana, P. thunbergiana), (sometimes known as foot a night vine, mile a minute vine, Gat Gun, Ge Gan and The vine that ate the South) is one of about 20 species in the genus Pueraria in the pea family Fabaceae, subfamily Faboideae. It is native to southern Japan and southeast China in eastern Asia. The name comes from the Japanese word for this plant, kuzu. The other species of Pueraria occur in southeast Asia, further south.
Kudzu was introduced from Japan into the United States in 1876 at the Philadelphia Centennial Exposition, where it was promoted as a forage crop and an ornamental plant. From 1935 to the early 1950s the Soil Conservation Service encouraged farmers in the southeastern United States to plant kudzu to reduce soil erosion as above, and the Civilian Conservation Corps planted it widely for many years.
However, it was subsequently discovered that the southeastern US has near-perfect conditions for kudzu to grow out of control — hot, humid summers, frequent rainfall, temperate winters with few hard freezes (kudzu cannot tolerate low freezing temperatures that bring the frost line down through its entire root system, a rare occurrence in this region), and no natural predators. As such, the once-promoted plant was named a pest weed by the United States Department of Agriculture in 1953.
Kudzu is now common throughout most of the Southeastern United States, and has been found as far northeast as Paterson, New Jersey, in 30 Illinois counties including as far north as Evanston, and as far south as Key West, Florida. It has also been found growing (rather inexplicably) in Clackamas County, Oregon in 2000. Kudzu has naturalized into about 20,000 to 30,000 square kilometers of land in the United States and costs around $500 million annually in lost cropland and control costs.
During World War II, kudzu was introduced to Vanuatu by United States armed forces to serve as camouflage for equipment. It is now a major weed.