Kudzu – the vine that ate the south

Sabine Bungert, Stefan Dolfen

Kudzu, a highly destructive plant first imported into the US from Asia, has become known as “The vine that ate the south”. During the Great Depression, farmers were paid to plant it as it was seen as a good way to combat soil erosion. However, Kudzu can grow over 30cm a day and, as such, today it represents a huge problem for the southern states, even entering the lexicon as a synonym for ‘something that comes in and rapidly takes over everything’.

Kudzu eliminates all other vegetation wherever it takes hold, something it does both quickly and easily. It can easily take over entire forests. Overgrown trees begin to look more like mysterious creatures and forests become enchanted-like places. But, with time, the vine kills the trees and damages properties. In the process, it has completely transformed the landscape of the South.

Since 2010 Sabine Bungert and Stefan Dolfen have been working on long term projects together. They are interested in the development of cities and landscapes due to social changes. They are focused on public places, looking for signs of sociocultural aspects of humans, which are expressed in the environment. They both studied photography and editorial design at University Essen (Folkwang), Germany.

Photography: Sabine Bungert @sabinebungertphotography, Stefan Dolfen
Design & Publisher: The Velvet Cell @thevelvetcell
Text: Robert Uhde


80 pages / 190 x 28,3 cm,
Four Colour, Hardcover
ISBN 978-1-908889-75-1,
Limited Edition of 500