This section is from the book "An Illustrated Flora Of The Northern United States, Canada And The British Possessions Vol2", by Nathaniel Lord Britton, Addison Brown. Also available from Amazon: An Illustrated Flora of the Northern United States, Canada and the British Possessions. 3 Volume Set..
Erect, stems glabrate or short-pubescent, 3o high or less. Leaflets oblong-linear to oblong-elliptic, 1/2'-2' long, 2"-6" wide, obtuse and mucronate at the apex, narrowed or rounded at the base, appressed-pubescent and more or less silvery especially beneath; spike sessile or short-peduncled, not longer than the leaves, rather densely several-flowered; petaliferous flowers purplish, 3"-4" long; calyx densely pubescent, 2 1/2"-3" long, nearly as long as the corolla, and two-thirds as long to longer than the densely pubescent ovate acute pod.
Hedysarum hirtum L. Sp. Pl. 748. 1753. Lespedeza hirta Hornem. Hort. Havn. 699. 1807.
Erect or ascending, rather stout, generally branching above, villous or silky-pubescent, 2°-4° high. Stipules subulate, 1"-2 1/2" long; petioles shorter than the leaves; leaflets oval, or suborbicular, obtuse at each end, sometimes emarginate at the apex, 6"-2" long; peduncles mostly elongated, often much exceeding the leaves; heads oblong-cylin-dric, rather dense, 1/2'-1 1/2' long; flowers all complete; corolla yellowish-white or the standard purple spotted, about 3" long; pod oval, acute, very pubescent, about equalling the calyx-lobes.
Dry soil, Maine and Ontario to Florida, Minnesota, Arkansas. Louisiana and Texas. Aug.-Oct.
A plant known as Lespedeza hirta oblongifòlia Britton, with leaves oblong, obtuse, 9"-15" long, 2"-4" wide, glabrate above, appressed-pubescent below; peduncles slender; spikes looser, 1' - 1 1/2' long; calyx very pubescent; in pine-barrens, Egg Harbor, N. J., and in the Southern States, may be a hybrid with L. angustifolia (Pursh) Ell. We do not know its fruit.
L. capitata Michx. Fl. Bor. Am. 2: 71. 1803. Lespedeza capitata var sericea H. & A. Comp. Bot.
Mag. 1: 23. 1835. Lespedeza frutescens Ell. Bot S. C. 2: 206. 1824. L. Bicknellii House, Torreya 5: 167. 1905. L. velutina Bicknell, Torreya 1: 102. 1901.
Stiff, erect or ascending, mainly simple and wand-like, silky, silvery pubescent, or somewhat villous, 2°-5 1/2° high. Stipules subulate; leaves nearly sessile; leaflets oblong, linear-oblong or narrowly elliptic, obtuse or acute at each end, 1'-1 1/2' long, 3"-$" wide; peduncles much shorter than the leaves, or the dense globose-oblong heads sessile in the upper axils; flowers all complete; corolla yellowish-white, with a purple spot on the standard, 3',' long; pod ovate-oblong, pubescent, about half as long as the calyx-lobes.
Lespedeza longifólia DC. (L. capitata longifolia T. & G.) of prairies, from Iowa to Missouri, Illinois and Kentucky, has linear to linear-lanceolate acute leaflets, and is a well marked race of L. capitata or a distinct species.