Lespedeza Genus lespedeza Fabaceae (Papilionoideae)

  

Lespedeza capitata flowers.Eleanor Saulys.www.ct-botanical-society.org

Lespedeza capitata, flowers.© 2002 Eleanor Saulys.www.ct-botanical-society.org (Accessed 4/2014).

Lespedeza is a genus of perennial, sometimes woody, herbs. 

Leaves alternate, 3-parted, numerous, margins entire; stipules persistent, linear to lance-shaped. 

Flowers purple to pale dull yellow, bilaterally symmetrical, pea-flower-shaped, small; corolla parts and stamens fused to a basal saucer-like hypanthium (perigynous); top petal (standard) rounded, base narrowed (clawed), side petals (wings) oblong, clawed, fused to lower petal (keel), keel blunt, composed of 2 fused petals, some species have some flowers without petals; calyx tubular, lobes narrow, persistent in fruit; stamens 10, 9 united at base, 1 solitary (diadelphous), ovary superior; 2-4 small bracts at base of each flower; most species with self-pollinated, closed flowers (cleistogamous) and open, insect pollinated flowers (chasmgamous); inflorescence spike-like or of solitary flowers in leaf axils (Radford et al. 1968); probably pollinated by bees (Lovell 1918). 

Lespedeza virginica.Jason Sachs.New England Wild Flower Society.gobotany.newenglandwild.org

Lespedeza virginica,fruit and dry leaves.Jason Sachs.New England Wild Flower Society.gobotany.newenglandwild.org. (Accessed 4/2014).

Fruit dry, 1-seeded, cupped by old calyx parts.