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sericea lespedeza

Lespedeza cuneata (Dum.-Cours.) G. Don

USDA PLANTS Symbol: LECU
U.S. Nativity: Exotic
Habit: Herb Shrub


Synonym(s): Chinese lespedeza, sericea lespedeza

Appearance
Lespedeza cuneata is an upright semi-woody forb reaching 3-6 ft. (0.9-1.8 m) in height with one to many slender stems. Stems are often gray green with lines of hairs along the stem.
Foliage
Leaves are thin, alternate, abundant and three-parted. Leaflets have wedge-shaped bases and are 0.5-1 in. (1.3-2.5 cm) long and hairy.
Flowers
Flowering occurs from July to September, when small, creamy-white flowers with purple throats develop in clusters of two to four.
Fruit
Fruit is a flat ovate to round single-seeded pod 0.12-0.15 in. (3-4 mm) wide. Pods are clustered in terminal axils, scattered along the stem, and clasped by persistent sepals.
Ecological Threat
Lespedeza cuneata is an extremely aggressive invader of open areas and out competes native vegetation. Once established, Lespedeza cuneata is very difficult to remove due to the seed bank which may remain viable for decades. Native to Asia and introduced into the United States in the late 1800s, it has been widely planted for erosion control, mine reclamation and wildlife habitat.


Identification, Biology, Control and Management Resources

Nonnative Invasive Plants of Southern Forests - USDA Forest Service
Southeast Exotic Pest Plant Council Invasive Plant Manual - SE-EPPC
Weeds Gone Wild: Alien Plant Invaders of Natural Areas - Plant Conservation Alliance
Element Stewardship Abstract - The Nature Conservancy
Weed of the Week - USDA Forest Service
Plant Invaders of Mid-Atlantic Natural Areas - National Park Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service