Sericea Lespedeza

Sericea Lespedeza
Sericea Lespedeza
 Barry Raugust

Sericea Lespedeza
Lespedeza cuneata

 

Family Bean
Longevity Perennial
Height 2 - 5 feet

Bloom Period

March April May June July August September October
  • Description: Erect stems are many-branched. Leaves are alternate and crowded. Whitish, -inch flowers are in small clusters in the leaf axils.
  • Comments: Sericea Lespedeza is one of the most troublesome invasive weeds in the Flint Hills Region. Once planted as a conservation plant for erosion control and as wildlife forage, it has become a serious weed in the Flint Hills, interfering with natural ecosystem processes and decreasing plant species diversity. It is a perfect example of a species introduced with good intentions, but with unanticipated and severe consequences.

    Sericea Lespedeza continues to spread. Accurate identification is important in recognizing and controlling invasive plants. There are seven native species of Lespedeza in Kansas. Sericea Lespedeza can easily be confused with desirable native plants, such as Slender Bush-clover or Roundhead Bush-clover.

Sericea Lespedeza flowers
 Iralee Barnard

These are the features to look for when identifying Sericea: 1) tall, bushy plants, often darker than surrounding vegetation; 2) each leaf has three leaflets and each leaflet is wedge shaped, narrow at the base and blunt at the tip with parallel veins; 3) small, pea-shaped flowers are white to cream with a purple splotch; 4) mature seed pods are brown, flat and oval in outline and less than inch long.
Round-head Bush-clover leaf
Round-head Bush-clover

Native
 Iralee Barnard
Sericea Lespedeza leaf
Sericea Lespedeza
Invasive
 Iralee Barnard
Slender Bush-clover leaf
Slender Bush-clover

Native
 Iralee Barnard

Return to The Meadow

 

The Meadow
Text: Iralee Barnard
Design: Jim Mason