Chinese Lespedeza

Chinese_Lespedeza_jpgThis family (Fabaceae) commonly called the Pea or Bean Family consists of 459 genera and 14,400 species of herbs, shrubs, vines and trees found in temperate, cold and tropical regions.  The family is of major economic importance, providing edible beans and peas for animals, ornamentals, and dyes. This genus (Lespedeza) consists of about 15 species.  Most have upright wand-like stems.  Chinese Lespedeza has been planted extensively in the Southeastern United States as boarders of fields. Chinese Lespedeza is also found along roadsides and disturbed sites as far north and New Jersey and Long Island.  It was cultivated along these disturbed sites and escaped from cultivation.  Plants in this genus have been studied by the United States Department of Agriculture and some have planted for wildlife food. Chinese Lespedeza is important to only one wildlife species—the Bobwhite Quail.  The use this genus (Lespedeza) by songbirds is slight.

OtherCommonName:

ScientificName:

Lespedeza cuneata

Community:

Edge

PlantStatus:

Naturalized from east Asia

LifeSpan:

Perennial

PlantHeight:

6 inches

FruitingTime:

October

Distribution:

Statewide in New Jersey

FloweringTime:

August to September

IdentifyingCharacteristics:

Stems erect, somewhat woody, long branches, leafy ~ Leaves ascending or erect ~ Branches with longitudinal grooves, hairy ~ Flowers white marked with purple or pink, small ~ Fruit oval