Scientific Name: Kummerowia striata

Common Name: Japanese clover

Other Common Names: common lespedeza

Synonyms: Lespedeza striata

Habit: Common Lespedeza can found in fields, pastures, open woods, stream banks, roadsides, railroads, waste ground, disturbed and cultivated sites.

Leaves: Leaves of this plant consist of 3 oblong leaflets (trifoliolate), 1/2 to 3/4 inch long and 1/3 to 1/2 as wide, obtuse at apex, narrowed at the base. Leaflets are without hairs except for oppressed hairs along the margins and mid-vein beneath. Lance-shaped stipules are present, 3-6 mm long, becoming brownish with age. Petioles are 1-2 mm long, much shorter than the leaves.

Identifying Characteristics: This plant is utilized for horse and cattle forage. It was brought to this country around 1850 and has spread rapidly.

Flower Seed Head: The plant has both conspicuous chasmogamous flowers and diminutive cleistogamous flowers, both of which are fertile. The flowers are actually quite striking up close but the plant is basically too small to have much ornamental value. Flowing occurs during July - October.

Seed Fruit: Fruits occur in a legume that is 3-4 mm long, tapering to a pointed apex.

Where Found: Common Lespedeza are found throughout the southeast of the US.

  • Life cycle: summer annual

  • Milky sap: Not Present

  • Plant type: Herb

  • Thorns: Not Present

  • Plant family: Fabaceae

  • Leaf arrangement: alternate

  • Leaf shape: oval

  • Ochrea: Not Present

  • Leaf margin: entire

  • Stem hairs: has hairs

  • Flower color: pink; purple

  • Growth habit: prostrate and nonwoody

  • Stem: round or oval

  • Leaf structure: trifoliate

  • Leaf hairs: no hairs

  • Flower symmetry: bilateral symetry

  • Flower diameter: pencil; dime

  • Root structure: taproot

  • Leaf stalk: shorter than leaf