Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Chinese Bush Lespedeza, Sericea Lespedeza
Lespedeza cuneata

Family: Papilionaceae (pa-pil-ee-uh-NAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Lespedeza (less-pe-DEEZ-a) (Info)
Species: cuneata (kew-nee-AH-tuh) (Info)

Synonym:Lespedeza juncea
Synonym:Lespedeza sericea

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4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)
6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 m)

4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)

USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)
USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)
USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun


Bloom Color:
Pale Yellow
White/Near White

Bloom Time:
Late Summer/Early Fall


Other details:
May be a noxious weed or invasive

Soil pH requirements:
5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall
Direct sow as soon as the ground can be worked

Seed Collecting:
Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds

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to view:

By kennedyh
Thumbnail #1 of Lespedeza cuneata by kennedyh

By kennedyh
Thumbnail #2 of Lespedeza cuneata by kennedyh

By DebinSC
Thumbnail #3 of Lespedeza cuneata by DebinSC


No positives
3 neutrals
1 negative

Gardeners' Notes:

Neutral htop On Dec 3, 2008, htop from San Antonio, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

I have not grown this plant. Chinese bush lespedeza, a subshrub, can tolerate soil pH as low as 4.5 and infertile soils; however, its optimum pH range is 6.0-6.5. It is used for erosion control, pasture, hay, cover crops and wildlife food and cover. It can be found in Alabama (AL), Arkansas (AR), Connecticut (CT), Delaware (DE), District of Columbia (DC), Florida (FL), Georgia (GA), Hawaii (HI), Illinois (IL), Indiana (IN), Iowa (IA), Kansas (KS), Kentucky (KY), Louisiana (LA), Maryland (MD), Massachusetts (MA), Michigan (MI), Mississippi (MS), Missouri (MO), Nebraska (NE), New Jersey (NJ), New York (NY), North Carolina (NC), Ohio (OH), Oklahoma (OK), Pennsylvania (PA), South Carolina (SC), Tennessee (TN), Texas (TX), Virginia (VA), West Virginia (WV) and Wisconsin (WI). It is listed as a noxious weed in Colorado and Kansas.

It produces small white to pale yellow flowers which have two purple splotches at the base of the standard.

Neutral frostweed On Dec 20, 2006, frostweed from Josephine, Arlington, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

Chinese Bush Lespedeza, Sericea Lespedeza Lespedeza cuneata is naturalized in Texas and other States and is considered an invasive plant in Texas.

Neutral Farmerdill On Nov 18, 2006, Farmerdill from Augusta, GA (Zone 8a) wrote:

This was planted fairly extensively in my youth for pasture and hay. It is not very good for either but it is very hardy, will grow in very poor soils and fixes nitrogen, Introduced into the USA in 1896. Probably the best thing I can say about it is that Bob White quail love it. Because of its hardiness it is considered a weed particularly in the western states. Never had a problem with it in Virginia. With crop rotation, cultivated row row crops controlled it. Also known as Chinese Bush Clover. Today the primary use is for wildlife plots

Negative caron On Nov 25, 2004, caron from Woodland Park, CO (Zone 4b) wrote:

Colorado Class A Noxious Weed. Mandatory eradication.
All locations of this plant in Colorado should be immediately reported to the Colorado Department of Agriculture.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Summerville, South Carolina
Troy, Virginia

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