Native to Japan but now known as the vine that ate the South, kudzu has covered millions of acres since it was introduced in 1876. Smothers arbors, telephone poles, houses, and fieldsand any plant in its pathat the rate of up to 1 feet per day. Thrives under almost any conditions. Medium green, 3- to 6 inches-long leaves are broadly oval, with three leaflets. Leaves and stems are somewhat hairy and coarse. Fragrant red-purple flowers in clusters 812 inches long, July through September. Too invasive for garden use unless you're hiding from the government and need something to cover your tracks. Its good points: tubers and leaves are edible, and you can make a tasty jelly from the flowers. Civil War buffs will be delighted to know there is now a variegated form with white-splotched leaves called 'Sherman's Ghost'.