Scientific Name: Lespedeza cuneata

Common Name: sericea lespedeza

Other Common Names: Chinese lespedeza

Synonyms: Lespedeza cuneata var. serpens, Lespedeza juncea var. sericea, Lespedeza latissima, Lespedeza sericea, Lespedeza serpens

Leaves: Leaves: Leaves are arranged alternately along the stem and are divided into 3 smaller leaflets. Individual leaflets range from 1/2 to 3/4 inches long, and have many short hairs on both surfaces. Leaflets are also oblong to linear in outline, and have a grayish cast. Stems: Become somewhat woody with age and have stiff bristles.

Identifying Characteristics: A perennial with erect stems that may reach 5 feet in height. Sericea lespedeza is often a weed of pastures, hay fields, roadsides, and abandoned fields. The alternately arranged leaves that are divided into 3 smaller leaflets and erect stems with stiff hairs are all characteristics that help in the identification of sericea lespedeza.

Flower Seed Head: Emerge from the position between the stem and leaves (leaf axils) in the middle to upper portions of the plant. Flowers occur either singly or in clusters of 2 to 4. Individual flowers are white with violet or purple markings.

Where Found: It is found throughout the southeastern United States.

  • Life cycle: perennial

  • Milky sap: Not Present

  • Plant type: Herb

  • Thorns: Not Present

  • Plant family: Fabaceae

  • Leaf arrangement: alternate

  • Leaf shape: lance; oval

  • Ochrea: Not Present

  • Leaf margin: entire

  • Stem hairs: has hairs

  • Flower color: yellow; white; purple

  • Growth habit: woody bush or tree

  • Stem: round or oval

  • Leaf structure: trifoliate

  • Leaf hairs: has hairs

  • Flower symmetry: bilateral symetry

  • Flower diameter: pencil; dime

  • Root structure: taproot

  • Leaf stalk: none