Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Round Headed Bush Clover
Lespedeza capitata

Family: Papilionaceae (pa-pil-ee-uh-NAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Lespedeza (less-pe-DEEZ-a) (Info)
Species: capitata (kap-ih-TAY-tuh) (Info)

3 vendors have this plant for sale.

5 members have or want this plant for trade.


Unknown - Tell us

6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 m)

USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 C (-30 F)
USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)
USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)
USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)
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)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

Sun Exposure:
Sun to Partial Shade


Bloom Color:
White/Near White

Bloom Time:
Late Summer/Early Fall
Mid Fall


Other details:
This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater
Self-sows freely; deadhead if you do not want volunteer seedlings next season

Soil pH requirements:
5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)
7.9 to 8.5 (alkaline)

Patent Information:
Unknown - Tell us

Propagation Methods:
From seed; sow indoors before last frost

Seed Collecting:
Collect seedhead/pod when flowers fade; allow to dry
Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored

Click thumbnail
to view:

By Cville_Gardener
Thumbnail #1 of Lespedeza capitata by Cville_Gardener

By Cville_Gardener
Thumbnail #2 of Lespedeza capitata by Cville_Gardener


No positives
2 neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Neutral htop On Dec 7, 2008, htop from San Antonio, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

I have not grown this plant. The round headed bush clover
(Lespedeza capitata) has a yellowish-white to white corolla with a purple spot on the standard. Its ovate-oblong, pubescent seedpod (seed pod) is about half as long as the calyx-lobes.

Neutral JodyC On Jan 17, 2005, JodyC from Palmyra, IL (Zone 5b) wrote:

The flowers are visited primarily by long- or short-tongued bees, such as bumblebees, large Leaf-Cutting bees, Andrenid bees, and others. Butterflies may suck nectar from the flowers, but they are not effective pollinators. The caterpillars of several species of skippers feed on the foliage, including Thorybes bathyllus (Southern Cloudywing), Thorybes pylades (Northern Cloudywing), Achalarus lyciades (Hoary Edge), and Epargyreus clarus (Silver-Spotted Skipper). The caterpillars of several moths also feed on the foliage, including Utetheisa bella (Bella Moth), Dasylophia anguina (Black-Spotted Prominent), and Ptichodis herbarum (Common Ptichodis). Other insects feeding on this plant include Everes comyntas (Eastern-Tailed Blue), Tetralopha scortealis (Lespedeza Webworm), Pachybrachis carbonarius (Leaf Beetle sp.), Calomycterus setarius (Imported Long-Horned Beetle), and various Alydus spp. (Broad-Headed Bugs). Because it is high in protein and palatable, many mammalian herbivores eat the plant during different growth stages, including deer, rabbits, groundhogs, and livestock. An overpopulation of these animals may interfere with this plant's establishment. The seeds are eaten primarily by upland gamebirds, including the Mourning Dove, Bobwhite, and Wild Turkey. During the winter, the seeds are eaten by the Slate-Colored Junco.

This is a robust and beneficial plant, although not particularly showy. It is fairly easy to distinguish this plant from other members of the Bean family, such as the tick trefoils and other bush clovers, by the stout bristly flowerheads and their small white flowers. However, there is some variability in the appearance of this plant across different localities.

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