Herbs, often somewhat woody, with pinnately 3-foliolate leaves, small stipules, and small purple or whitish flowers in axillary clusters, heads or panicles. Flowers often of 2 kinds intermixed, the one petaliferous and mainly sterile, the other minute, apetalous, abundantly fertile. Calyx-lobes nearly equal, those of petaliferous flowers often longer than those of apetalous ones. Standard in the petaliferous flowers obovate or oblong, clawed; wings oblong; keel incurved. Stamens more or less diadelphous (9 and 1); anthers all alike.

Ovary sessile or stipitate, I-ovuled. Pods ovate, oblong, oval or suborbicular, flat, indehiscent, reticulated, composed of a single joint, or with a second stalk-like joint at the base, those of petaliferous flowers often sharper-pointed than those of apetalous ones. [Named for Lespedez, governor of Florida, patron of Michaux.]

A genus of about 40 species, natives of eastern North America, Asia and Australia. Type species: Lespedeza sessiliflora Michx. The genus is known as bush-clover.

Perennial native species; stipules subulate; calyx-lobes narrow.

Corolla purple or purplish; plants bearing both petaliferous and apetalous flowers.

Stems prostrate or trailing.

Glabrous or somewhat appressed-pubescent.

1.

L. repens.

Downy-pubescent or tomentose.

2.

L. procumbens.

Stems erect or ascending.

Peduncles manifest, mostly longer than the leaves.

Bushy-branched; petaliferous flowers paniculate.

3.

L. violacea.

Stems simple or little-branched; flowers racemose or subspicate.

Calyx of petaliferous flowers two-thirds as long as the pod or more,

4.

L. Manniana.

Calyx of petaliferous flowers one-half as long as the pod or less.

Stem tomentose; leaves tomentose beneath.

5.

L. brittonii.

Stem and leaves glabrate or appressed-pubescent.

Leaflets oval to suborbicular.

6.

L. Nuttallii.

Leaflets oblong.

7.

L. acuticarpa.

Peduncles shorter than the leaves, or flower-clusters sessile.

Calyx of petaliferous flowers less than one-half as long as the pod

Leaflets densely tomentose beneath.

8.

L. Stuvei.

Leaflets appressed-pubescent beneath or glabrate.

Leaflets oval to oblong.

9.

L. frutcscens.

Leaflets linear to linear-oblong.

10.

L. virginica.

Calyx of petaliferous flowers two-thirds as long as the pod or more

11.

L. simulata.

Flowers all complete; corolla whitish or yellowish; pod included or scarcely exserted.

Leaves oblong, ovate-oblong, or nearly orbicular.

Peduncles mostly exceeding the leaves.

12.

L. hirta.

Peduncles shorter than the leaves.

13.

L. capitata.

Leaves linear or linear-oblong; peduncles manifest, usually elongated.

Spikes densely-flowered.

14.

L. angustifolia.

Spikes interrupted, loosely-flowered.

15.

L. leptostachya.

Annual; stipules ovate; calyx-lobes broad; introduced species.

16.

L. striata.