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