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Kudzu That Ate U.S. South Heads North as Climate Changes

As the climate warms, the vine that ate the U.S. South is starting to gnaw at parts of the North, too.

Kudzu, a three-leafed weed first planted in the U.S. more than 100 years ago for the beauty of its purple blossoms, has been spotted in every county in Georgia, Alabama and North Carolina. It chokes young trees, brings down power lines and infests abandoned homes. Now the plant, which can grow as fast as a foot (30 cm) per day, is creeping northward, wrapping itself around smokestacks in Ohio, overwhelming Illinois backyards and even jumping Lake Erie to establish a beachhead in Ontario, Canada.