Kudzu [Pueraria montana variety lobata (Willd.) Maesen & S. M. Almeida] plant architecture and growth were compared for plants subjected to 4 wk of simulated herbivory (75% leaf cutting) and no damage. Simulated herbivory reduced above-ground and root biomass by 40 and 47%, respectively, whereas total vine length and average length of the 10 longest vines were reduced by 48 and 43%, respectively, compared with control plants. Plant architecture was also affected, with damaged plants showing a significantly reduced proportion of primary vines, shorter secondary vines, and reduced average internode distances compared with the control plants. In natural situations, these changes would reduce the ability of kudzu to compete for light and other resources by affecting the plant's climbing habit.
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Vol. 42 • No. 5