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Shrubby Lespedeza
Lespedeza bicolor Turcz.

International Code - LEBI2
FIA survey code - 6052

Miller, James H. 2003. Nonnative invasive plants of southern forests: a field guide for identification and control. Gen. Tech. Rep. SRS–62. Asheville, NC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Southern Research Station. 93 p.

acrobat version

Synonyms: bicolor lespedeza, bicolor, shrub bushclover

Plant. Perennial much branched, leguminous forb or ascending shrub, 3 to 10 feet (1 to 3 m) in height with three-leaflet leaves, many small purple-to-white pea flowers, and single-seeded pods from a woody rootcrown. Dormant brown plants remain upright most of the winter.

Stem. Arching branched, upright-to-ascending stems, 0.2 to 0.8 inch (0.5 to 2 cm) in diameter. Often gray green. Appressed hairy to hairless.

Leaves. Alternate, three-leaflet leaves. Each leaflet elliptic to ovate with a hairlike tip, 0.8 to 2 inches (2 to 5 cm) long and 0.4 to 1.2 inches (1 to 3 cm) wide. Lower surface lighter green than upper surface. Petioles 0.8 to 1.6 inches (2 to 4 cm) long. Stipules narrowly linear, 0.04 to 0.3 inch (1 to 8 mm) long.

Flowers. June to September. Clusters (racemes) 4 to 6 inches (10 to 15 cm) long—each subtended by a tiny ovate bract—of 5 to 15 well-spaced, pealike flowers. Each flower 0.3 to 0.4 inch (8 to 11 mm) long, growing from upper leaf axils and beyond the upper leaves. Petals usually rosy purple in center and often grading to lighter shades, but can vary to white. Calyx (sepals) sparsely to very hairy with lobes 0.1 to 0.2 inch (2.5 to 4.5 mm) long.

Fruit and seeds. August to March. Flat legume pod 0.2 to 0.3 inch (6 to 8 mm) long, broadly elliptic with pointed hairlike tip. Green becoming gray and densely appressed hairy. Single black seed 0.12 to 0.16 inch (3 to 4 mm) long.

Ecology. Planted widely in forest openings for wildlife food plots and soil stabilization to later encroach into adjoining stands. Reproduces and spreads even under a medium-to-dense overstory. Spread encouraged by burning. Leguminous nitrogen fixer.

History and use. Introduced from Japan as an ornamental in the late 1800s. Later programs promoted use for wildlife food and soil stabilization and improvement. Still planted for quail food plots.

Photo by J. Miller

Photo by J. Miller

Photo by J. Miller

Photo by J. Miller

Photo by J. Miller

Photo by J. Miller

Photo by J. Miller

States with suspected infestations are shown in gray.

Recommended control procedures:

  • Thoroughly wet all leaves with one of the following herbicides in water with a surfactant (July to September): Garlon 4 as a 2-percent solution (8 ounces per 3-gallon mix), Escort* at three-fourths of an ounce per acre (0.2 dry ounces per 3-gallon mix), Transline† as a 0.2-percent solution (1 ounce per 3-gallon mix), a glyphosate herbicide as a 2-percent solution (8 ounces per 3-gallon mix), or Velpar L* as a 2-percent solution (8 ounces per 3-gallon mix).
  • Mowing 1 to 3 months before herbicide applications can assist control.

*   Nontarget plants may be killed or injured by root uptake.
†   Transline controls a narrow spectrum of plant species.

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USDA Forest ServiceUSDA APHIS PPQ The Bugwood Network University of Georgia is a joint project of
The Bugwood Network, USDA Forest Service & USDA APHIS PPQ.
The University of Georgia - Warnell School of Forest Resources and
College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences - Dept. of Entomology
Last updated on Wednesday, November 05, 2003 at 01:37 PM
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