Kudzu is a plant in the genus Pueraria in the pea family Fabaceae, subfamily Faboideae. It is a climbing, coiling, and trailing vine native to southern Japan and south east China. Its name comes from the Japanese name for the plant, Kuzu ( or ). Where it occurs as an invasive species it is considered a noxious weed that climbs over trees or shrubs and grows so rapidly that it kills them by heavy shading. The plant is edible, but often sprayed with herbicides. Five species in the genus Pueraria are closely related and the name kudzu describes one or more of them. They are P. montana, P. lobata, P. edulis, P. phaseoloides and P. thomsoni. The morphological differences between the four species are subtle, they can breed with each other, and it appears that introduced kudzu populations in the United States have ancestry from more than one of the species.
Contributions by Saritamackita, DocWatson42, and Mr-bbmfic.