I first spotted them hiding in the shrubs behind the house as I was watering a few new plants. Asian invaders had sprung out of the ground, coiled themselves around various large branches of the shrubs and hoisted themselves outward, reaching for the next shrub and upward, somehow even grabbing on to the lower branches of a large nearby tree.
It was the dreaded beast from the East: Kudzu, a Japanese import, has become an invasive spreading vine throughout the Southeast and as far north as Canada and, yes, Massachusetts. Once it gets a toehold it can rapidly overwhelm other plants and trees, eventually killing them by depriving them of light. I recall driving along the Saw Mill River Parkway in NY and seeing how some crawling, creeping, climbing thing had enveloped virtually everything in its path, as in the photo above. It wouldn't take much of an imagination to turn it into the makings of a horror movie. Yep, Kudzu.
Kudzu has a vigor and growth rate that almost defies belief. Which is why some people returning to their vacation home after a year or two absence have been shocked to find it hidden under a smothering green blanket.