Pueraria montana (Lour.) Merr.

Pueraria montana (Lour.) Merr.




Var. lobata: Pueraria thunbergiana (Sieb. & Zucc.) Benth., Pueraria lobata (Willd.) Ohwi.

Vernacular Names


Kudzu, Japanese arrow­root.


Bitok, tobi (Madurese), tebi (Kangean).


Baai (Ig­orot), tahaunon (Manubo).


Chua tau kung, khauz pièd (Northern).


Tamyakhrua, phakpeetpe.


S[aws]n d[aa]y, c[as]t c[aw]n.



Geographical Distributions

Pueraria mon­tana has a large area of distribution, ranging from eastern India, Burma (Myanmar), Indo-China, China, Korea and Japan, through Thailand and the Malaysian region, to the Pacific islands and northern Australia. It was successfully introduced into South America and the southern United States, but did not become established in Africa. The most common variety in the Malaysian region is var. lobata (Willd.) v.d. Maesen & Almeida; it has been reported in Peninsular Malaysia, the Philippines, the Lesser Sunda Islands, the Moluccas and Papua New Guinea.


Pueraria mon­tana is a perennial, woody climber, with stems up to 30 m long and up to 10 cm in diame­tre, initially grey to brown hairy, later hairless, and with very large oblong tubers which are up to 2 m long and up to 45 cm in diametre.

The leaves are arranged alternate and pinnately 3-foliolate. The petiole is 8-13(-21) cm long, and with rachis 1.5-7 cm long where both are grey to golden­ brown hairy. The stipules are peltate and measure up to 1.5(-2.5) cm long. The leaflets are ovate to orbicular and measuring 8-26 cm x 5-22 cm. The lateral leaflets are oblique and often somewhat smaller than the terminal leaflets. They are entire to 3-lobed, thinly appressed pubescent, with petiolules 4-10 mm, with linear to lance-shaped stipels and measure up to 2(-3) cm long.

The in­florescence is usually an unbranched elongated pseudoraceme that measures up to 35 cm long. It is with 3 flowers per node. The bracts are up to 10 mm long and early caducous. The bracteoles are up to 5 mm long and fairly persistent. The flowers are bisexual and short-pedicelled. The sepal is bell-shaped with 5 unequal teeth, and with tube 3-5 mm long. The teeth are 4-9 mm long. The petal is papilionaceous and measures up to 2.5 cm long. It is purplish to blue or pink, and often with a yellow or green spot on the vexillum. The 10 stamens are monadelphous or with one free stamen. The ovary is superior, elongated and 1-celled.

The fruit is a flattened ob­long pod, measuring 4-13 cm x 0.5-1.5 cm, straight to falcate, with golden-brown hairs and 5-15-seeded. The seeds are flat­tened ovoid, measuring 4-5 mm x 4 mm x 2 mm and they are red-brown with black mosaic.

Seedling is with epigeal germina­tion where the first 2 leaves are simple and arranged opposite.

Ecology / Cultivation

Pueraria montana occurs in thickets, wrests, roadsides, pastures and hedges, and is common in the lowlands but is found up to 2000 m altitude. It grows on a wide range of soils, but does not grow well on poor sandy soils and poorly drained heavy clays. It is intolerant of waterlogging, and grows best on well-drained fertile loams. Pueraria mon­tana is drought resistant because of its deep roots.

Line Drawing / Photograph



  1. Plant Resources of South-East Asia No.12(1): Medicinal and poisonous plants 1.