Dioscorea bolojonica Blanco
Dolichos phaseoloides Roxb.
Dolichos spicatus Benth.
Dolichos trilobus Houtt.
Neustanthus javanicus Benth.
Neustanthus phaseoloides Benth.
Neustanthus sericans Miq.
Neustanthus subspicatus Benth.
Pachyrhizus mollis Hassk.
Pachyrhizus montanus Blanco
Pachyrhizus teres Blanco
Phaseolus barbatus Wall.
Pueraria hirsute (Thunb.) C.K.Schneid.
Pueraria javanica (Benth.) Benth.
Pueraria subspicata (Benth.) Benth.
Common Name: Tropical Kudzu
Pueraria phaseoloides is a vigorous, perennial climbing plant producing annual, stems up to 5mm in diameter and 2 - 10 metres long from a tuberous rootstock. These stems scramble over the ground, where they produce new roots at the nodes, and also twine into the surrounding vegetation for support[
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a food, medicine and source of fibre. It is one of the most important and widely cultivated cover crops in tropical plantations, and is cultivated in many tropical countries of Asia, Africa and America[
E. Asia - Himalayas to China, Myanmar, Thailand, Malaysia, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam.
Found in broadleaved forests growing over rocks and into trees in the upper tropical and lower subtropical zones.
|Other Uses Rating||
|Cultivation Status||Cultivated, Wild
Tropical kudzu is a plant of the wet tropics, where it is found at elevations up to ,1,600 metres. It grows best in areas where annual daytime temperatures are within the range 15 - 30°c, but can tolerate 12 - 35°c[
]. When dormant, the plant can survive temperatures down to about -2°c, but young growth can be severely damaged at -1°c[
]. It prefers a mean annual rainfall in the range 1,200 - 3,200mm, but tolerates 850 - 4,300mm[
Requires a sunny position in a well-drained soil[
]. Succeeds in most soils of at least moderate fertility[
]. Prefers a pH in the range 4.5 - 6.5, tolerating 3.5 - 8[
]. The plant can send its roots down 1.5 metres into the soil, which probably explains why it can continue to grow during dry periods[
Pueraria phaseoloides has been extensively introduced in tropical and subtropical region of the world for use as forage for livestock, to control soil erosion, and to improve the soil. It is a vigorous, fast-growing vine that is listed as one of the most aggressive weeds that are invading moist habitats in tropical and subtropical regions. It spreads by seeds and by runners, which enable it to multiply rapidly and quickly colonize large areas of forest. It has the potential to degrade other plants by smothering them under a solid blanket of leaves, by girdling woody stems and tree trunks, and by breaking branches or uprooting entire trees and shrubs by the strength of its weight. Currently, it is classified as a ‘noxious weed’ in the United States, and as an invasive species in Costa Rica, Ecuador, Puerto Rico and Pacific Islands including Hawaii, Fiji, French Polynesia, Niue and New Caledonia[
Young plants grow away slowly for the first 3 - 4 months, but then grow rapidly and can cover the ground with their sprawling stems to a depth of 60 - 75cm within 12 months[
The species has been classified into 3 varieties:-
Var phaseoloides is a cultivated strain. It is sometimes naturalized in west Africa and the Americas.
Var javanica is another cultivated strain. It is widely naturalized in Africa and the Americas.
Var subspicata is truly wild and occurs spontaneously in south and southeast Asia[
This species has a symbiotic relationship with certain soil bacteria, these bacteria form nodules on the roots and fix atmospheric nitrogen. Some of this nitrogen is utilized by the growing plant but some can also be used by other plants growing nearby[
The tuberous root can be eaten[
A decoction of the plant is used as an anti-infective agent[
A poultice of the plant is applied to ulcers and boils, especially in children[
]. A decoction is also used internally[
A decoction of the crushed bark is used to aid a mother when giving birth[
The species is widely used in folk medicine[
The plant is a very productive cover and green-manure plant (often grown in mixed croppings with other leguminous species as Calopogonium and Centrosema)[
]. It is grown amongst various plantation crops (often rubber, oil-palm, cocos, but also coffee, cocoa, citrus, sisal, clove, Cinchona etc)[
]. The plant is shade tolerant and better adapted to tropical lowlands than Pueraria montana and therefore strongly recommended as component of integrated livestock-plantations systems in these areas[
The plant is also used for soil conservation[
The fibres obtained from the stems can be used like those of the true kudzu (Pueraria montana) for making rope, cloth etc[
Pre-soak the seed for 12 hours in warm water and sow in a warm greenhouse in early spring. Germination should take place within 2 weeks. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and plant them out after the last expected frosts[
]. Cover the young plants with a frame or cloche until they are growing away well.
Cuttings of the current season's growth usually root well[