Meet the Pueraria lobata, a medicinal but very invasive climber

View of the Pueraria lobata

Image – Wikimedia Commons / Forest & Kim Starr

The pueraria lobata It is a plant that has two faces: on the one hand, it has very interesting medicinal properties, but on the other … it is one of the most invasive that exists.

Its rapid growth means that the native flora cannot do anything to continue. Thus, We encourage you to get to know it so that you can identify it.

Origin and characteristics

pueraria lobataPueraria lobata

Image – Wikimedia / Matt Lavin

Our protagonist is a climbing plant native to East Asia, widely used especially in China and Japan. Its scientific name is Pueraria montana var. lobataalthough it is known as Pueraria lobata or kudzu. It reaches a height of 20 meters, although it can reach 30m. The leaves are composed of three green, ovate leaflets. The flowers are grouped in inflorescences and are reddish-pink.

It has tuberous roots, and can be quite invasive. However, it must be said that it is one of those that fixes the most nitrogen to the soil according to volume 23 of the journal Critical Reviews in Plant Sciences that was published in 2004.


Apart from being used as an ornamental in its areas of origin, its most widespread use is medicinal. From the roots, once dried and ground, a white powder is obtained that helps improve gastrointestinal health and that it is also useful for treating alcoholism, vertigo and muscular dystrophy. For all this, it is considered one of the 50 fundamental plants in traditional Chinese medicine.

Can it be cultivated?

pueraria lobataPueraria lobata

Image – Flickr / Matt Lavin

Unfortunately not. Pueraria lobata is one of those plants that very quickly cover the existing flora in the place, to the point that it ends up killing it by preventing it from absorbing sunlight, which is essential for photosynthesis. In addition, it is included in the list of the 100 most harmful invasive species in the world, of the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

Meet the Pueraria lobata, a medicinal but very invasive climber

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