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Chinese Bush-clover Lespedeza cuneata


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Chinese Bush-clover
© James H. Miller, USDA Forest Service/

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Alternate name: Chinese Lespedeza, Sericea Lespedeza

Family: Fabaceae, Pea view all from this family

Description Introduced. A semi-woody, leafy-stemmed perennial introduced from Asia that invades native habitats in North America.
Height: 3-5' (0.9-1.5 m).
Leaves: compound; divided into 3 narrowly oval leaflets, each to 1" (2.5 cm) long.
Flowers: whitish, purple-tinged pea flowers borne singly or in small clusters in leaf axils.
Fruit: small pod.

Habitat Disturbed habitats, fields, roadsides, open woodlands.

Range Asia native; naturalized in the United States from Massachusetts to Florida and west to Wisconsin, Nebraska, and Texas.

Discussion This introduced plant is considered a noxious or invasive pest. Widely planted for erosion control, it spreads into open areas, crowding out native flora and heavily self-sowing, so that it remains for years in a site. In some areas it is illegal to plant Chinese Bush-clover.