Kudzu, Pueraria lobata (syn. P. montana, P. thunbergiana), (sometimes known as foot a night vine, mile a minute vine, Gat Gun, Ge Gan and The vine that ate the South) is one of about 20 species in the genus Pueraria in the pea family Fabaceae, subfamily Faboideae. It is native to southern Japan and southeast China in eastern Asia. The name comes from the Japanese word for this plant, kuzu. The other species of Pueraria occur in southeast Asia, further south.
The non-woody parts of the plant are edible. The young leaves can be used for salad or cooked as a leaf vegetable, the flowers coated with a batter and fried (like squash flowers), and the starchy tuberous roots can be prepared as any root vegetable. The starchy roots are ground into a fine powder, known as kuzu, and used for varieties of Wagashi and herbal medicines. When added to water and heated, kudzu powder becomes clear and adds stickiness to the food. It is sometimes known as "Japanese arrowroot", due to the similar culinary effect it produces.
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