Pacific Island Ecosystems at Risk (PIER)

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Pueraria montana var. lobata
(Willd.) Maesen & S. M. Almeida, Fabaceae
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Present on Pacific Islands?  yes

Primarily a threat at high elevations?  no

Risk assessment results: 

Reject, score: 9 (Go to the risk assessment (Australia))
High risk, score: 24 (Go to the risk assessment (Pacific))
Risk assessment from the Government of Queensland, Australia (PDF format)
European and Mediterranean Plant Protection Organization risk analysis and report

Other Latin names:  Dolichos lobatusWilld.; Pueraria lobata (Willd.) Ohwi; Pueraria thunbergiana(Sieb. & Zucc.) Benth.; Pueraria triloba (Houtt.) T. Makino

Common name(s): [more details]

Chinese: ge ma mu

English: Japanese arrowroot, kudsu, kudzu

Fijian: nggariaka, wa yaka, yaka

Niuean: aka, aka fala, fou gau

Samoan: a‘a, a‘a

Tongan: aka, akataha, fue‘ae puaka

Wallisian: aka, aka

Yapese: dedai, deday

Habit:  vine

Description:  "Coarse, twining or creeping vine with thickened or tuberous roots. Stems up to 10 m long, somewhat woody, covered with long, yellow-brown hairs. Leaves alternate, trifoliate, with a rachis 8-20 cm long. Leaf margins wavy, leaf surfaces softly pubescent. Flowers in many-flowered axillary racemes 15-40 cm long. Calyx long-hairy, divided more than half way into five unequal lobes; corolla papilionaceous, violet with a yellow spot, and 14-20 mm long. Stamens ten, diadelphous. Fruit a densely brown-hairy, flat, oblong-linear pod 9-12 cm long, 8-12 seeded"  (Whistler, 1983; p. 53).

Description from Flora of China online.

Habitat/ecology:  "Riparian habitats, forest edges, woodland.  A native of forest margins, occurring up to 2,000 m elevation.  This nitrogen-fixing and fast growing vine can quickly cover shrubs and trees with a dense tangle of stems, smothering them and shading out all other vegetation.  Stems easily root at nodes and form mats that may be more than 2 m tick.  The vine is able to smother trees up to 35 m tall, eventually killing them"  (Weber, 2003; p. 351).  Wild forms grow between 30 and 1860 m. Cultivated forms are more common in high altitude areas up to 2700 m altitude (GPPIS).

In Hawai‘i, "naturalized in low elevation disturbed areas, at least up to 700 m"  (Wagner et al., 1999; pp. 693-695). In Tonga, "frequent in thickets" (Yuncker, 1959; pp. 147-148).

Propagation:  Primarily by runners and rhizomes. Limited spread by seed.  "Seeds are dispersed by birds and mammals"  (Weber, 2003; p. 351).

Native range:  Eastern and southern Asia, into the Pacific as far as Tonga (GRIN).

Presence:

Pacific
Country/Terr./St. &
Island group
Location Cited status &
Cited as invasive &
Cited as cultivated &
Cited as aboriginal introduction?
Reference &
Comments
American Samoa
Manu‘a Islands
Olosega Island introduced
invasive
Space, James C./Flynn, Tim (2000) (p. 43)
American Samoa
Manu‘a Islands
Olosega Island   National Tropical Botanical Garden (U.S.A. Hawaii. Kalaheo.) (2001) (voucher ID: PTBG 35124)
Taxon name on voucher: Pueraria lobata (Willd.) Ohwi
American Samoa
Manu‘a Islands
Ta‘u Island introduced
invasive
Space, James C./Flynn, Tim (2000) (p. 47)
American Samoa
Manu‘a Islands
Ta‘u Island   Whistler, W. A. (1990)
Vouchers cited: Garber 651, Whistler 1377
American Samoa
Manu‘a Islands
Ta‘u Island   Yuncker, T. G. (1945) (p. 42)
Voucher cited: Garber 651 (BISH)
American Samoa
Manu‘a Islands
Ta‘u Island introduced
abo. intro.
Ragone, Diane/Lorence, David H. (2003) (p. 53)
American Samoa
Manu‘a Islands
Ta‘u Island   National Tropical Botanical Garden (U.S.A. Hawaii. Kalaheo.) (2002) (voucher ID: PTBG 38839)
Taxon name on voucher: Pueraria montana (Lour.) Merr. var. var. lobata (Willd.) Maesen & S. M.
American Samoa
Manu‘a Islands
Ta‘u Island   National Tropical Botanical Garden (U.S.A. Hawaii. Kalaheo.) (1990) (voucher ID: PTBG 9140)
Taxon name on voucher: Pueraria montana var. lobata
American Samoa
Tutuila Islands
Tutuila Island probably introduced
invasive
Space, James C./Flynn, Tim (2000) (p. 37)
Australia (Pacific offshore islands)
Norfolk Islands
Norfolk Island introduced
invasive
Orchard, Anthony E., ed. (1994) (p. 9)
"Introduced and naturalised in the Hundred Acre Reserve". Voucher cited: W.R. Sykes NI 529 (CHR)
Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (US)
Northern Mariana Islands
Rota Island   Wagner, W. L./ Herbst, D. R./Weitzman, A./Lorence, D.H. (2013)
Federated States of Micronesia
Chuuk Islands
Chuuk Islands native
Swarbrick, John T. (1997) (p. 96)
Federated States of Micronesia
Pohnpei Islands
Pohnpei Island introduced
invasive
Herrera, Katherine/Lorence, David H./Flynn, Timothy/Balick, Michael J. (2010) (p. 96)
Vouchers cited: T. Hosokawa 5845 (BISH), M. Takamatsu 597 (BISH)
Naturalized
Federated States of Micronesia
Yap Islands
Yap (Waqab) Island native
Fosberg, F. R./Sachet, Marie-Hélène/Oliver, Royce (1979) (p. 117)
Fiji
Fiji Islands
Fiji Islands   Swarbrick, John T. (1997) (p. 96)
Fiji
Fiji Islands
Kambara Island introduced
invasive
cultivated
abo. intro.
Smith, Albert C. (1985) (pp. 226-227)
Voucher cited: Smith 1268
Fiji
Fiji Islands
Lakemba Island introduced
invasive
cultivated
abo. intro.
Smith, Albert C. (1985) (pp. 226-227)
Voucher cited: Garnock-Jones 823
Fiji
Fiji Islands
Taveuni Island introduced
invasive
cultivated
abo. intro.
Smith, Albert C. (1985) (pp. 226-227)
Voucher cited: Gillespie 4703
Fiji
Fiji Islands
Vanua Levu Island introduced
invasive
cultivated
abo. intro.
Smith, Albert C. (1985) (pp. 226-227)
Vouchers cited: Seemann 114, DA 13909, Bierhorst F167
Fiji
Fiji Islands
Viti Levu Island introduced
invasive
cultivated
abo. intro.
Smith, Albert C. (1985) (pp. 226-227)
Vouchers cited: Greenwood 161, Degener 14942, Smith 9668, Greenwood 161A, DA 5629, DA 11746, DA 10791, DA 3371
French Polynesia
Society Islands
Moorea Island introduced
invasive
Welsh, S. L. (1998) (p. 159)
Voucher cited: Florence 4931
French Polynesia
Society Islands
Raiatea (Havai) Island introduced
Meyer, Jean-Yves (2000) (p. 94)
"Potential invader".
French Polynesia
Society Islands
Raiatea (Havai) Island introduced
invasive
Welsh, S. L. (1998) (p. 159)
Vouchers cited: Fosberg & Sachet 63135, Florence 3797, BRY 26681
French Polynesia
Society Islands
Taha‘a Island introduced
invasive
Welsh, S. L. (1998) (p. 159)
Voucher cited: BRY 26539
French Polynesia
Society Islands
Tahiti Island introduced
invasive
Welsh, S. L. (1998) (p. 159)
Vouchers cited: Fosberg 67758, Florence 7726
Guam
Guam Island
Guam Island   Wagner, W. L./ Herbst, D. R./Weitzman, A./Lorence, D.H. (2013)
State of Hawaii
Hawaiian Islands
Hawai‘i (Big) Island introduced
invasive
Wagner, Warren L./Herbst, Derral R./Sohmer, S. H. (1999) (pp. 693, 695, 1879)
State of Hawaii
Hawaiian Islands
Kaua‘i Island introduced
invasive
Wagner, Warren L./Herbst, Derral R./Sohmer, S. H. (1999) (pp. 693, 695, 1879)
Also var. chinensis (Owhi) (formerly var. thomsoni (Benth.) Maesen) (see Wagner et al 2012; p. 41).
State of Hawaii
Hawaiian Islands
Kaua‘i Island introduced
invasive
Frohlich, Danielle/Lau, Alex (2012) (p. 39)
Voucher cited: T. Flynn 4748 (BISH)
State of Hawaii
Hawaiian Islands
Maui Island introduced
invasive
Wagner, Warren L./Herbst, Derral R./Sohmer, S. H. (1999) (pp. 693, 695, 1879)
State of Hawaii
Hawaiian Islands
O‘ahu Island introduced
invasive
Wagner, Warren L./Herbst, Derral R./Sohmer, S. H. (1999) (pp. 693, 695, 1879)
Japan (offshore islands)
Ogasawara (Bonin) Islands
Bonin (Ogasawara) Islands   Kato, Hidetoshi (2007)
As Pueraria lobata (Willd.) Ohwi
Kiribati
Tungaru (Gilbert) Islands
Tarawa Atoll   Swarbrick, John T. (1997) (p. 96)
Presence not verified.
New Caledonia
Îles Loyauté (Loyalte Islands)
Île Maré probably native
cultivated
MacKee, H. S. (1994) (pp. 88-89)
Voucher cited: Virot 1573
New Caledonia
New Caledonia
New Caledonia Islands native
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
New Caledonia
New Caledonia
New Caledonia Islands native
Jaffré, T./Morat, P./Veillon, J-M./Rigault, F./Dagostini, G. (2001) (p. 78)
New Caledonia
New Caledonia Archipelago
Île Grande Terre probably native
cultivated
MacKee, H. S. (1994) (pp. 88-89)
Vouchers cited: Montrouzier 54 (LY), Vieilard 377, Pancher s.n. s.loc., Balansa 3330, Pennel 44, Cribs 1206, Compton 605, Gifford 3, MacKee 4249, Blanchon 1477 (NOU), Botton in Veillon 1114 (NOU), Corbasson in MacKee 20287
New Caledonia
New Caledonia Archipelago
Île des Pins (Isle of Pines) probably native
cultivated
MacKee, H. S. (1994) (pp. 88-89)
Vouchers cited: Virot 1018, MacKee 23553
New Caledonia
New Caledonia Archipelago
Île Yande probably native
cultivated
MacKee, H. S. (1994) (pp. 88-89)
Voucher cited: Däniker 2971
Niue
Niue
Niue Island introduced
abo. intro.
Sykes, W. R. (1970) (p. 159)
Voucher cited: CHR 150547
Niue
Niue
Niue Island introduced
invasive
Whistler, W. A. (1988) (p. 27)
Niue
Niue
Niue Island introduced
invasive
Space, James C./Flynn, Tim (2000) (p. 25)
Niue
Niue
Niue Island introduced
invasive
abo. intro.
Whistler, W. A./Atherton, J. (1997) (p. 35)
Voucher cited: 10871
Niue
Niue
Niue Island introduced
invasive
Yuncker, T. G. (1943) (p. 65)
Vouchers cited: Yuncker 9711 (BISH), Yuncker 10124 (BISH), Yuncker 10227 (BISH)
"Common along roadsides, in plantations, waste areas, and clearings".
Niue
Niue
Niue Island introduced
invasive
abo. intro.
Space, James C./Waterhouse, Barbara M./Newfield, Melanie/Bull, Cate (2004) (p. 50)
Palau
Palau (Belau ) (main island group)
Babeldaob Island native
Fosberg, F. R./Sachet, Marie-Hélène/Oliver, Royce (1979) (p. 117)
Palau
Palau (Belau ) (main island group)
Babeldaob Island native
Space, James C./Waterhouse, Barbara/Miles, Joel E./Tiobech, Joseph/Rengulbai, Kashgar (2003) (p. 102)
Palau
Palau (Belau ) (main island group)
Babeldaob Island   Beleu National Museum (Republic of Palau. Koror.) (1981) (voucher ID: BNM 3056)
Taxon name on voucher: Pueraria lobata (Willd.) Ohwi
Palau
Palau (Belau ) (main island group)
Babeldaob Island   National Tropical Botanical Garden (U.S.A. Hawaii. Kalaheo.) (2007) (voucher ID: PTBG 47520)
Taxon name on voucher: Pueraria montana var. lobata
Palau
Palau (Belau ) (main island group)
Koror (Oreor) Island native
Space, James C./Waterhouse, Barbara/Miles, Joel E./Tiobech, Joseph/Rengulbai, Kashgar (2003) (p. 98)
Papua New Guinea
Bismarck Archipelago
Bismarck Archipelago native
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
Papua New Guinea
Bismarck Archipelago
Bismarck Archipelago   Peekel, P. G. [translated by E. E. Henty] (1984) (p. 255)
Papua New Guinea
Bougainville Islands
Bougainville Island   Foreman, D. B. (1971) (p. 45)
Papua New Guinea
Papua New Guinea (eastern New Guinea Island)
Papua New Guinea (eastern New Guinea Island) native
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
Philippines
Philippine Islands
Philippine Islands native
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
Philippines
Philippine Islands
Philippine Islands native
Merrill, Elmer D. (1923) (p. 312)
As Pueraria thunbergiana. In open grasslands and thickets at low and medium altitudes, in Benguet ascending to 2,000 m.
Samoa
Western Samoa Islands
Savai‘i Island introduced
invasive
Space, James C./Flynn, Tim (2002) (p. 71)
Samoa
Western Samoa Islands
Upolu Island introduced
invasive
Space, James C./Flynn, Tim (2002) (p. 68)
Solomon Islands
Solomon Islands
Solomon Islands native
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
Solomon Islands
Solomon Islands
Solomon Islands native
Hancock, I. R./Henderson, C. P. (1988) (p. 104)
Tonga
Ha‘apai Group
Ha‘ano Island introduced
invasive
Space, James C./Flynn, Tim (2001) (p. 74)
Tonga
Ha‘apai Group
Lifuka Island   Yuncker, T. G. (1959) (pp. 147-148)
Voucher cited: Yuncker 15984
Tonga
Ha‘apai Group
Tofua Island   Whistler, W. A. (1992) (p. 31)
Voucher cited: Scarth-Johnson 12
Tonga
Tonga Islands
Tonga Islands   Yuncker, T. G. (1959) (pp. 147-148)
"Frequent throughout Tonga".
Tonga
Tongatapu Group
‘Eua Island introduced
invasive
Space, James C./Flynn, Tim (2001) (p. 62)
Tonga
Tongatapu Group
‘Eua Island   Yuncker, T. G. (1959) (pp. 147-148)
Voucher cited: Yuncker 15556
Tonga
Tongatapu Group
Tongatapu Island   Whistler, W. A. (1992) (p. 31)
Vouchers cited: Lister s.n., Soakai 267
Tonga
Tongatapu Group
Tongatapu Island   Yuncker, T. G. (1959) (pp. 147-148)
Voucher cited: Yuncker 15176
Tonga
Vava‘u Group
Niuatoputapu Island   Yuncker, T. G. (1959) (pp. 147-148)
Voucher cited: Hürlimann 354
Tonga
Vava‘u Group
Vava‘u Island introduced
invasive
Space, James C./Flynn, Tim (2001) (p. 68)
Tonga
Vava‘u Group
Vava‘u Island   Whistler, W. A. (1992) (p. 31)
Voucher cited: Crosby 35
Tonga
Vava‘u Group
Vava‘u Island   Yuncker, T. G. (1959) (pp. 147-148)
Cited: Crosby.
Vanuatu
New Hebrides Islands
Vanuatu (Republic of) native
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
Wallis and Futuna
Wallis and Futuna (Horne) Islands
Futuna Island native
Morat, Ph./Veillon, J.-M. (1985)
Morat & Veillon, 1985, cited in Meyer, 2007
Wallis and Futuna
Wallis and Futuna (Horne) Islands
Wallis and Futuna Islands   Whistler, W. A. (1988) (p. 27)
Pacific Rim
Country/Terr./St. &
Island group
Location Cited status &
Cited as invasive &
Cited as cultivated &
Cited as aboriginal introduction?
Reference &
Comments
Australia
Australia (continental)
Australia (continental) native
ILDIS Co-ordinating Centre (2013)
Australia
Australia (continental)
Queensland introduced
invasive
Queensland Herbarium (2002) (p. 6)
As Pueraria lobata (kudzu)
China
China
China (People's Republic of) native
Zhengyi, Wu/Raven, Peter H./Deyuan, Hong (2013)
"Mountain forests, thickets, open places".
China
China
Hong Kong native
Wu, Te-lin (2001) (p. 152)
Indonesia
Indonesia
Indonesia (Republic of) native
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
Japan
Japan
Japan (country) native
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
Japan
Ryukyu Islands
Ryukyu Islands native
ILDIS Co-ordinating Centre (2013)
North Korea
North Korea
North Korea (Democratic People's Republic of) native
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
South Korea
South Korea
South Korea (Republic of) native
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
Malaysia
Malaysia
Malaysia (country of) native
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
Mexico
Mexico
Mexico (United Mexican States) introduced
invasive
Weber, Ewald (2003) (p. 351)
Panama
Panama
Panama (Republic of) introduced
ILDIS Co-ordinating Centre (2013)
Taiwan
Taiwan Island
Taiwan Island native
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
Thailand
Thailand
Thailand (Kingdom of) native
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
United States (west coast)
United States (west coast states)
USA (Oregon) introduced
U.S. Dept. Agr., Nat. Res. Cons. Serv. (2013)
United States (west coast)
United States (west coast states)
USA (Washington) introduced
U.S. Dept. Agr., Nat. Res. Cons. Serv. (2013)
Vietnam
Vietnam
Vietnam (Socialist Republic of) native
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
Also reported from
Country/Terr./St. &
Island group
Location Cited status &
Cited as invasive &
Cited as cultivated &
Cited as aboriginal introduction?
Reference &
Comments
United States (continental except west coast)
United States (other states)
United States (other states) introduced
U.S. Dept. Agr., Nat. Res. Cons. Serv. (2013)
United States (continental except west coast)
United States (other states)
USA (Florida) introduced
U.S. Dept. Agr., Nat. Res. Cons. Serv. (2013)

Comments:  A serious environmental weed in the southern US. Proposed as a noxious weed in South Africa.

An aboriginal introduction to Western Polynesia, cultivated for its edible root.

Fosberg et al (1979; p. 117) list as a native species on Palau and Yap.

Planting of this species is prohibited in Miami-Dade County, Florida (U.S.) (Miami-Dade County Dept. of Planning and Zoning, 2010).

Control: 

Physical:  Once established, the vine is difficult to control.  Frequent close cutting will exhaust the plant's stored food supply in the roots and will eventually kill it. Control includes grazing by goats and persistent weeding or mowing.  If manually controlled, all roots should be removed to prevent regrowth  (Weber, 2003; p. 351).

Chemical: "An effective herbicide is triclopyr"  (Weber, 2003; p. 351).

Biological: Biological control information from the publication "Biological control of invasive plants in the eastern United States".


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This page was created on 1 JAN 1999 and was last updated on 9 MAY 2017.