Lespedeza hirta is a perennial herb, to 1.5 m tall, stems erect, stout, hairy.
Leaves alternate, 3-parted, stalk 0.5-2 cm, leaflets to 6 cm long, 4 cm wide, oval to almost linear, hairy below, stalk of middle leaflet to 1 cm long, hairy, thick.
Flowers yellowish-white, base purple, 0.6-0.9 cm long, pea-flower-shaped, calyx hairy to 1 cm long; inflorescences numerous, of spike-like clusters 1-4 cm on stalks 2-5 cm long; (Radford et al. 1968); blooms Aug.-Sept.
Fruit dry, elliptic, 0.4-0.7 cm long, flattened, pointed at both ends, 1-seeded; fruits Sept.-Oct. (Radford et al. 1968), seeds dispersed into winter (USDA, NRCS 2006).Seeds eaten by quail, plants eaten by deer (Martin et al. 1951).
Wetland status: UPL.
Frequency in NYC: Very infrequent.
Habitat: Dry open, sandy or rocky soil, pH 5.8-6.9, shaded edges, intolerant of salt (USDA, NRCS 2006; Hough 1983).
Notes: Moderate nitrogen fixer (USDA, NRCS 2006).