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Quail-Friendly Plants of the Midwest

Trailing lespedezas

  • Lespedeza repens, L. procumbens
  • Trailing bush clover

Forb

Brood coverFood
Trailing lespedezas

Trailing lespedezas are so named for their propensity to trail prostrate along the ground.

©James H. MIller, USDA-NRCS Plants Database


 

Through a symbiotic relationship with bacteria in their roots, legumes collect and store atmospheric nitrogen

The legume, or bean family (Fabaceae) is important not only to bobwhites, but to wildlife in general. Through a symbiotic relationship with bacteria in their roots, legumes collect and store atmospheric nitrogen. Some of this nitrogen is later used by other, nonleguminous plants. In addition, legumes tend to produce abundant seed crops, many of which are important foods for wildlife.

©James H. MIller, USDA-NRCS Plants Database

Flowers range from white or pink to purple

Flowers of the trailing lespedezas range from white or pink to purple.

©Tom Barnes, University of Kentucky

Seeds

Seeds of trailing lespedezas are similar in size and appearance to those other lespedezas, including sericea lespedeza, an undesirable pest (see Caution). The growth form of the trailing lespedezas should not be mistaken for sericea lespedeza.

Tracey Slotta, USDA-NRCS Plants Database

Description

There are only two species of trailing lespedezas in the Midwest and they are found in dry, open woods, savannas and prairies. Trailing lespedezas are small, native lespedezas with trailing stems that can readily form thick mats over bare areas if left undisturbed. The small flowers range from purple to white and can produce a large quantity of seeds.

Bloom period

June to October

Use by bobwhites

Where abundant, trailing lespedezas are an important staple in the fall diet of quail. The small leaves may be eaten by quail in the spring and early summer.


 

MP903, new May 2008

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MP903 Quail-Friendly Plants of the Midwest | Page 55 | University of Missouri Extension