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Kudzu covering several trees in Atlanta in the United States.
lumps of kudzu powder

Alternative forms[edit]


From Japanese クズ (, kuzu). The spelling kudzu (instead of kuzu) is due to historical transliteration methods of Japanese into English (compare adzuki).



kudzu (usually uncountable, plural kudzus)

  1. An Asian vine (several species in the genus Pueraria, but mostly Pueraria montans var. lobata, syn. Pueraria lobata in the US), grown as a root starch, and which is a notorious invasive weed in the United States.
    Synonyms: Japanese arrowroot, mile-a-minute
    • 2007 November 1, Jeff Goodell, “James Lovelock, the Prophet”, in Rolling Stone[1]:
      By 2020, droughts and other extreme weather will be commonplace. By 2040, the Sahara will be moving into Europe, and Berlin will be as hot as Baghdad. Atlanta will end up a kudzu jungle.
    • 2011 August 31, Ashley Dawson, “Slow Violence and the Environmentalism of the Poor: An Interview with Rob Nixon”, in Social Text[2]:
      Walled off communities, private jets, private security details are spreading like kudzu around the world.
    • 2013 September 10, Michiko Kakutani, “A Calamity Tailor-Made for Internet Conspiracy Theories”, in New York Times[3]:
      All the author’s familiar trademarks are here: [] shaggy-dog plotlines sprouting everywhere, like kudzu; []
  2. (cooking, medicine) A starch extracted from the root that is used in traditional East Asian medicine and cuisine.
    Synonym: kudzu powder
    • 1989 November, Drew DeSilver; Jan Gahala, “What is that stuff?”, in Vegetarian Times, ISSN 0164-8497, page 43:
      Kudzu is available in natural food stores and Oriental markets; it is often sold in lumps that must be crushed in a mortar before measuring.
    • 2009, Annemarie Colbin, Whole-food Guide to Strong Bones, New Harbinger Publications, →ISBN, page 233:
      Kudzu, a starch extracted from the root of the kudzu plant, acts similarly to cornstarch or arrowroot but is preferable for bone health because it contains some calcium.

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Further reading[edit]