The Miracle Vine, The Awl, Aug. 29, 2018
"At the 1876 Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia, Alexander Graham Bell revealed his telephone to the world. The Sholes and Glidden company displayed the first Remington typewriter, Heinz launched its ketchup, and Charles Elmer Hires introduced Root Beer. There were over two hundred structures housing 30,000 exhibitions including elephant-sized cannons, a 1,400-horsepower steam engine, and the right arm of the Statue of Liberty. But according to the journal American History, the exhibit that drew the most “ooohs” from the cosmopolitan crowd of ten million was a garden display of a fast-growing Japanese vine. With leaves the width and shape of a human palm, the evergreen produced conical clusters of spring flowers that were the color of plums and smelled like red wine. As of today, kudzu has spread to 32 states and Canada.