Kudzu is an invasive, creepy-crawly type of perennial vine that originally comes from Japan. Farmers there have used it for centuries to improve the topsoil, allowing its natural processes to enhance nitrogen levels and transfer rich minerals to the earth. The substance can also be made into a jelly that tastes not unlike bubble gum, so it’s a win-win situation. It was thus introduced to the United States in 1876 as a clever means to reduce soil erosion, and conservationists everywhere planted it in great numbers at the solid recommendation of the federal government.
Unfortunately, it turns out that the southeastern U.S. has absolutely perfect conditions for kudzu to thrive. The sweltering heat, coupled with heavy rainfall and mild winters, enables the thick vines to blanket everything in sight. House abandoned? Covered in kudzu. Man stopping a moment to pick up a quarter? Covered in kudzu. The United States currently loses $500 million a year attempting to combat the perpetual expansion, and it’s a losing battle. Kudzu has already been found as far north as Pennsylvania, and while the environment there is not quite as ideal, the Amish are just far too polite to ask the offending vegetation to leave.