Back in 2012, photographer Helene Schmitz was tasked with capturing images of a stunning natural phenomenon that actually wreaks havoc on every inch of ground that it covers. Known as Kudzu, this invasive plant series was brought as a gift to the U.S. by the Japanese at the1876 Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia.
The rapidly growing plant intrigued people at first, but since it arrived on the scene, Kudzu has taken a serious toll on everything in its wake (naturally occurring or otherwise).
It may look incredible, but the cons of this species’ presence have proven to far outweigh the pros. These photos, which were taken by Schmitz in Georgia, Alabama, and South Carolina, reveal the immensity of this plant’s power.
Kudzu expands its damaging reign about by about 30 centimeters per day. As you can imagine, that really adds up after a few decades.
“The notion of a plant being ‘invasive’ was intriguing,” the photographer writes, “since it is described with a term normally used to describe actions of war. Bringing war terminology to mankind’s relation to a singular plant and its germination might even describe something about our relation to nature itself.”
The eerie series speaks to the sometimes baffling power of nature, revealing the strange beauty of Kudzu’s devastating reach.
(via Feature Shoot)
While this invasion is of the natural variety, it’s important to note that this species was allowed to cover so much ground because human beings planted mass amounts of Kudzu well into the 1940s in order to prevent erosion near crops and alongside railroad tracks. From there, it erupted into the force of nature that Helene Schmitz captured so hauntingly in this series.
To see more of this photographer’s work, be sure to check out her website today.