Tackling Massive Mounds of Kudzu; Research on 'Vine That Ate the South' under Way near Imperial

By Thorsen, Leah | St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO), September 1, 2013 | Go to article overview

Tackling Massive Mounds of Kudzu; Research on 'Vine That Ate the South' under Way near Imperial


Thorsen, Leah, St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)


JEFFERSON COUNTY * Thick vines that blanket the hillside along a highway near Imperial span nearly half a mile and cover trees so completely they look like green mounds.

Purple flowers that smell like grape Kool-Aid bloom within the vines, which hold hairy seed pods.

The vine is kudzu, a "perennial, semi-woody, exotic vine with invasive, uncontrollable, smothering growth" planted in Missouri decades ago for bank stabilization before its aggressive nature was known, according to the state's Department of Conservation.

The kudzu patch on the hill near Old Highway 21 and Missouri Route 21 is the biggest that Steven Callen, a St. Louis University biology graduate student, has seen in Missouri. Callen, a 2000 graduate of De Smet Jesuit High School, is studying the vine and its growth for his doctoral dissertation.

The trees shrouded by the kudzu could be dead already, he said, and it's creeping up telephone poles.

Missouri is on the northwestern edge of kudzu's spread into the country. It's more pervasive in the southeast, where it earned the nickname "the vine that ate the South" by pulling down power poles, snapping power lines and crushing buildings. It can grow up to a foot a day and 100 feet in a season.

About 2 million acres of forest land in the South is covered with kudzu, according to the University of Florida. The government paid farmers to plant kudzu for erosion control from the mid-1930s to the mid-1950s.

"This thing grows like you can't believe," said Allison Miller, associate biology professor at St. Louis University and Callen's adviser. "It chokes out all other native vegetation."

Callen is focusing his research a combination of pollination biology, climatic data and genomic analyses on this kudzu patch and another patch a few miles to the west. His project will also incorporate what he learned during a two-month fellowship this summer in Kunming, China, where kudzu is a native plant. He'll go back next summer to continue the research.

"Nobody knows how this population got here," Callen said of the Imperial patch. "And when I'm in the South, or wherever I am, and I ask people that question, nobody can tell me where it actually comes from. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Tackling Massive Mounds of Kudzu; Research on 'Vine That Ate the South' under Way near Imperial
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.