Lespedeza virginica is a perennial herb 0.3-1 m tall (Radford et al. 1968), sparsely slender-branched, somewhat appressed-hairy; stipules linear, brownish.
Leaves alternate, crowded, 3-parted, leaflets linear to narrowly oblong, 0.6-3 cm long, ascending, to about 0.5 cm wide, finely appressed hairy on both sides.
Flowers of two kinds: those with rose-purple petals, 0.5-0.7 cm long, pea-flower-shaped, wings longer than keel and banner calyx lobes 0.1-0.2 cm long, unequal (Radford et al. 1968), inflorescence of small, dense, branched clusters near ends of stems and closed flowers without petals lower on stem.
Fruit dry, mostly from closed flowers, 0.3-0.6 cm long, flattened, broadly egg-shaped, appressed hairy especially when immature; 1-seeded; blooms July-Sept.
Wetland status: UPL.
Frequency in NYC: Infrequent, (possibly seeded into a restoration in Idlewild).
Habitat: Open, sandy soil.
Notes: Seeds eaten by quail, plants eaten by deer and other wildlife (Yatskievych 2006).