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Lespedeza cuneata

Phonetic Spelling
less-pe-DEEZ-a koo-nee-AY-tuh
Description

Sericea is a perennial herb and broadleaf annual weed in the legume family from Asia and Australia. It was first planted in the US in NC in 1896  to control erosion and as forage for livestock. It is multi-branched up to 6 ft tall with dense compound leaves. Flowers occur singly or in clusters of up to three in the leaf axils. The root is a long taproot making it impossible to pull.

The plant is considered invasive in many areas. It may be allelopathic, producing substances that chemically inhibit the growth of other plants. It forms extensive monocultures and develops an extensive seed bank in the soil, ensuring its long residence at a site. Its high tannin content makes it unpalatable to livestock and most native wildlife. Prefers full sun and is not tolerant of much shade.

Mowing plants in the flowering stage for two or three consecutive years may help control it. Plants should be cut as low as possible.

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
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Cultivars / Varieties:
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  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Lespedeza
    Species:
    cuneata
    Family:
    Fabaceae
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Asia, Australia
    Wildlife Value:
    Seeds consumed by birds like quail.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Habit/Form:
    Erect
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Type:
    Legume
    Fruit Description:
    The fruit is a legume pod containing one seed. Seeds tiny, bean-shaped, yellow to light brown
  • Flowers:
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Summer
    Flower Description:
    Flowers small (about ΒΌ in.) creamy white to pale yellow with central purple spots, single or in clusters of 2-4 in axils of upper and median leaves in summer
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Color:
    Gray/Silver
    Green
    Leaf Type:
    Compound (Pinnately , Bipinnately, Palmately)
    Leaf Shape:
    Oblong
    Hairs Present:
    Yes
    Leaf Description:
    Compound leaves have 3 leaflets that are narrowly oblong and pointed, with awl-shaped spines and wedge-shaped bases; leaflets are covered with densely flattened hairs, giving a grayish-green or silvery appearance.
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No