Family, Pulse. Color, purple. Leaves, of 3 leaflets, with awl-shaped stipules. Corolla, papilionaceous. Flowers, often of 2 kinds; the larger, growing in panicles or clusters, are not so fertile as the smaller, which are mingled with the others along the stem and branches. The latter are usually without petals. Pods have 1 or 2 joints, with a single seed in the upper; the lower generally seedless. Stems, 12 to 30 inches long, trailing and prostrate. Softly hairy. August and September.
Bush clover (Lespedeza procumbens)
L. violacea. - Unlike the last in that the stem is erect, ascending, much branched. Flowers, in scattered panicles on the branches. Corolla, violet purple. Pod, ovate, acute. Leaflets, 3, petioled, obtuse, small. Stem, 1 to 3 feet high. August and September.
Dry soil, New England to Florida.
L. Stuvei. - Stem, covered with down, erect, stiff, with few branches but many leaves, 2 to 4 feet high. Flowers, numerous, both kinds in axillary, almost sessile clusters. Late summer.
Dry, sandy soil, Long Island to Virginia and westward.
L. virginica. - Stem, simple, erect, sometimes branched. Leaves and both kinds of flowers thickly clustered on the stem, which is 1 to 3 feet high.
Time and habitat same as last.
L. capitata has globular heads with yellowish white corollas, a purple spot in the standard. Peduncles, short. Flowers densely clustered in the upper axils. Stem, softly downy, 2 to 5 feet high. Leaves, sessile, with small stipules. August and September.
Dry fields everywhere in our range.
L. angustifolia has linear, 3 - foliate leaves on short petioles, and flowers on long peduncles, in narrow, oblong heads. 2 to 3 feet high. August and September.
Dry, sandy soil, Massachusetts to Florida and westward.
Many of the bush clovers are pretty plants, with fine, delicate foliage. Others are tall and stiff, with short-stemmed leaves and rigid heads of flowers. The genus may be known by the 3-foliate, clover-like leaves and smooth, 1-seeded, single or double-jointed pods. The pods of the nearly related desmodiums have several joints, and they are rough, clinging to the clothing.