Lespedeza cuneata is a woody perennial herb, to 1.5 m tall, erect, stems finely ribbed, branches numerous, elongate, wand-like, densely appressed hairs makes plant appear gray-green.
Leaves alternate, 3-parted, larger leaflets to 2.5 cm long, 0.4 cm wide, tip rounded with abrupt, small point, base narrowed to stalk 0.5 cm, dull dark green above, finely hairy below. Leaves of flowering branches much smaller.
Flowers of two kinds, those with petals white marked with purple, to 0.9 cm long, solitary in leaf axils, pea-flower-shaped; closed flowers, self-pollinating, scattered among open flowers; blooms Aug.-Sept (Hough 1983).
Fruit dry, oval, 0.3 cm, flattened, 1-seeded.
Wetland status: UPL.
Frequency in NYC: Very infrequent.
Habitat: Planted as a soil erosion preventative, now escaped in dry, disturbed, open areas, sandy fill.
Notes: Can form dense stands and is listed as a noxious weed in some western states (USDA, NRCS 2006; Plant Conservation Alliance 2005).