Pueraria lobate - Kudzu vine
Habitat: The vine typically grows in mixed forests but has also been found in managed habitats such as road and rail embankments, pastures, conifer plantations and riverbanks.
Description: The Kudzu vine is a densely-packed climber with large hairy dark brown stems that grow up to 15 meters in length.
Origin and Distribution: Native to eastern Asia, it has been imported into the EU only recently as a horticultural curiosity. So far, the species has only escaped into the wild in Italy (as well as in Switzerland).
The potential for damage is high because the mass of scrambling leaves can radically alter forest areas and crowd out native shrubs and trees. It can also have negative effects on recreational facilities, as well as on forestry activities and crop production.
How could it get here?
Through import as a horticultural curiosity.
Is it present in Ireland? No
Methods for prevention:
Once the species is well established, management becomes very difficult. EU-level action includes a ban on sales and any planting or keeping, including in gardens, and a rapid eradication of any new population to avoid the excessively high costs associated with its management later on.
Where the species has become widely spread, appropriate management measures have to be taken.
Current Legislative Position (Listed on 03 August 2016)
This species must not intentionally be brought into the Union; kept; bred; transported to, from or within the United Kingdom, unless for the transportation to facilities in the context of eradication; placed on the market; used or exchanged; permitted to reproduce, grown or cultivated; or released into the environment.
For further queries, you can contact the Non Native Invasive Species Team in the Northern Ireland Environment Agency on 028 9056 9558.