Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Slender Bush Clover
Lespedeza virginica

Family: Papilionaceae (pa-pil-ee-uh-NAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Lespedeza (less-pe-DEEZ-a) (Info)
Species: virginica (vir-JIN-ih-kuh) (Info)

One vendor has this plant for sale.

2 members have or want this plant for trade.


12-18 in. (30-45 cm)
18-24 in. (45-60 cm)
24-36 in. (60-90 cm)
36-48 in. (90-120 cm)
4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)

Unknown - Tell us

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)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun
Sun to Partial Shade
Light Shade
Partial to Full Shade
Full Shade

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:
Pale Pink
White/Near White

Bloom Time:
Mid Summer
Late Summer/Early Fall


Other details:
This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds
Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping
Self-sows freely; deadhead if you do not want volunteer seedlings next season

Soil pH requirements:
Unknown - Tell us

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
Unknown - Tell us

Seed Collecting:
Unknown - Tell us

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By Jeff_Beck
Thumbnail #1 of Lespedeza virginica by Jeff_Beck

By Jeff_Beck
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By Jeff_Beck
Thumbnail #3 of Lespedeza virginica by Jeff_Beck

By frostweed
Thumbnail #4 of Lespedeza virginica by frostweed

By frostweed
Thumbnail #5 of Lespedeza virginica by frostweed

By frostweed
Thumbnail #6 of Lespedeza virginica by frostweed

By creekwalker
Thumbnail #7 of Lespedeza virginica by creekwalker

There are a total of 8 photos.
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1 positive
3 neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

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

I have not grown this plant. Slender Lespedeza can be found in Alabama (AL), Arkansas (AR), Connecticut (CT), Delaware (DE), District of Columbia (DC), Florida (FL), Georgia (GA), Illinois (IL), Indiana (IN), Iowa (IA), Kansas (KS), Kentucky (KY), Louisiana (LA), Maryland (MD), Massachusetts (MA), Michigan (MI), Minnesota (MN), Mississippi (MS), Missouri (MO), New Hampshire (NH), New Jersey (NJ), New York (NY), North Carolina (NC), Ohio (OH), Oklahoma (OK), Pennsylvania (PA), Rhode Island (RI), South Carolina (SC), Tennessee (TN), Texas (TX), Virginia (VA), West Virginia (WV) and Wisconsin (WI). It is listed as threatened in New Hampshire and Wisconsin.

It can be identified by its leaves which tend to be 3 times longer than wide and pubescent on both surfaces as well as by its compact flowering clusters. The flowers are pinkish to purplish or sometimes whitish with darker purple splotches at the base. All lobes are triangular-attenuate with the longest being to 1.2mm long. The upper lip is 2-lobed and the lower lip is 3-lobed.

Neutral macybee On Sep 29, 2007, macybee from Deer Park, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:

This legume genus was named in honor of the Spanish governor of Florida in 1790, whose name was in fact de
Cespedes but the botanist Michaux got it wrong - however the mistaken version became so familiar that botanists eventually voted to retain it. It includes about 40 species of annuals, perennials and deciduous shrubs and subshrubs from across the northern hemisphere, extending to Southeast Asia and Australia. The leaves are made up of 3 leaflets, while the small pea-flowers are held in long sprays. The pods are small and one-seeded, falling without opening. Some species are grown for fodder or green manure.
Cultivation: These plants do best in a sunny position in well-drained soil, and prefer warmer climates where cold winters will not cut them back. Mulch well, especially at the limit of frost hardiness, and prune to rejuvenate in spring. Propagate from seed or cuttings, or by division.

Positive frostweed On Sep 27, 2007, frostweed from Josephine, Arlington, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

Slender Bush Clover Lespedeza virginica is native to Texas and other States.

Neutral tcfromky On Oct 11, 2004, tcfromky from Mercer, PA (Zone 5a) wrote:

This plant is relished by all classes of livestock and foraged by deer and other wildlife. The seeds are consumed by bobwhite quail and other birds.

It grows in prairies, open woods, and glades often on rocky sites.


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

Cole Camp, Missouri
Saint Joseph, Missouri
Arlington, Texas

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