Chinese Bushclover Lespedeza cuneata
Other Common Name(s):
- Phonetic Spelling
- less-pe-DEEZ-a koo-nee-AY-tuh
- This plant is an invasive species in North Carolina
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.
This plant prefers full sun and deep, well-drained, medium to coarse-textured acidic soils. It is found in open habitats such as meadows, open woodlands, fields, pond edges, and roadsides.
Mowing plants in the flowering stage for two or three consecutive years may help control it. Plants should be cut as low as possible.
Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems: Listed as invasive by the NC Invasive Plant Council
- See this plant in the following landscape:
- Cultivars / Varieties:
- Cultivars / Varieties:
- Life Cycle:
- Country Or Region Of Origin:
- Asia, Australia
- Wildlife Value:
- Seeds consumed by birds like quail.
Whole Plant Traits:
- Plant Type:
- Growth Rate:
- Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
- Soil Texture:
- Loam (Silt)
- Soil pH:
- Acid (<6.0)
- Soil Drainage:
- Good Drainage
- Fruit Type:
- Fruit Description:
- The fruit is a legume pod containing one seed. Seeds tiny, bean-shaped, yellow to light brown
- Flower Color:
- Flower Bloom Time:
- Flower Description:
- Flowers small (about ¼ 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
- Leaf Color:
- Leaf Type:
- Compound (Pinnately , Bipinnately, Palmately)
- Leaf Arrangement:
- Leaf Shape:
- Hairs Present:
- 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 Is Aromatic:
- Invasive Species