Herbs, often with perennial roots and erect or ascending stems. In a few species the stems trailing. Leaves three-foliolate. Flowers small, purple or whitish, in axillary clusters, heads or panicles. Frequently the flowers are of two kinds intermixed, one petaliferous but sterile, the other minute, apetalous and fertile. Calyx lobes nearly equal, those of the petaliferous flowers usually longer than those of the apetalous flowers. Upper petal (standard) obovate or oblong, the lower petals forming an incurved keel. Stamens usually diadelphous (nine and one); anthers all alike. Ovary one-ovuled, ripening into a flat, indehiscent, reticulated, mostly one-jointed and one-seeded pod.

Key To The New York Species Of Lespedeza

Corolla purple or purplish; plants bearing both petaliferous and apetalous flowers Stems prostrate or trailing Foliage glabrous or somewhat appressed-pubescent................L. repens

Foliage downy-pubescent or tomentose...................L. procumbens

Stems erect or ascending

Peduncles distinct and mostly longer than the leaves

Bushy-branched; petaliferous flowers paniculate...........L. violacea

Stems simple or little branched; flowers racemose or subspicate

Stems tomentose; leaves tomentose beneath...........L. brittonii

Stems and leaves glabrate or appressed-pubescent; leaflets oval to suborbicular....................................L. nuttallii

Peduncles shorter than the leaves or the flower clusters sessile

Leaflets densely tomentose beneath; calyx of the petaliferous flowers less than one-half as long as the pod..........................L. stuvei

Leaflets appressed pubescent beneath or glabrate

Calyx of petaliferous flowers less than one-half as long as the pod; leaflets oval to oblong........................L. frutescens

Calyx of the petaliferous flowers two-thirds as long as the pod or more; leaflets silvery-pubescent beneath..................L. simulata

Corolla whitish or yellowish; flowers all complete; pod included or scarcely exserted from the calyx Leaflets oblong, ovate-oblong, or nearly orbicular

Peduncles mostly exceeding the leaves............................L. hirta

Peduncles shorter than the leaves............................L. capitata