Thursday, September 18, 2008

Thematic Photographic 16 - Nature: Virginia

Week 16 of Thematic Photographic is nature. Be sure to join in this week with your nature photos! Here are the "rules". The best thing about nature is that it is all around us. The great thing about road trips is that there are miles and miles of ever changing nature.

One of my favorite states for a road trip is Virginia, which is where we were just a few weeks ago. I took these photos in the western end of the state near Roanoke.
The photo at the top of this post was taken while were driving in a light mist. It shows an amazing variety of trees and woodland vegetation in such a small frame. I like the softness of created by the mist and the motion of the car.
Below is an example of the rock these roads were cut through to get over the mountains. I took two semesters of geology in college but that was a long time ago. I can only guess at the type of rock, but I am pretty sure by the angle of the strata that a very powerful source of energy was responsible for pushing it up from the earth's crust!


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[1] 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.

Invasive species

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[16], and as far south as Key West, Florida.[citation needed] It has also been found growing (rather inexplicably) in Clackamas County, Oregon in 2000.[17] 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.[citation needed] It is now a major weed.


Capturing Today said...

Great shots - we're all too familiar with kudzu here in TN as well!

Carol said...

Hey girly-girl... i'm likin' that 1st photo... any photo with trees in it does it for me.. very nice! and rocks, I like them too.

Now, the kudzu I read up on because we have something similar here at Pelee as you pointed out on my other blog. I'm still not sure tho, they look so much alike... but I always thought what we have is cucumber vine... I don't know, I'll have to take a closer look next time and take more photos...

anywho, these are super nature photos Barb, I enjoyed!

lisaschaos said...

I never knew about the Kudzu before, interesting. Love your photos!!