Hairy lespedeza

  • Lespedeza hirta
  • Hairy bush clover


Brood coverFood

Leaves are composed of three leaflets Leaves are composed of three leaflets, which are nearly round. Note that flowers are usually yellowish white, instead of pink as seen here.

©Ted Bodner, USDA-NRCS Plants Database

The common name for this species comes from the hairy stems and leaves

The common name for this species comes from the hairy stems and leaves. Its upright growth structure makes it useful for brood habitat. The pea-like flowers are indicative of a legume.

©Tom Barnes, University of Kentucky

Leaflet veins are pinnate

Leaflet veins are pinnate. Shape is oblong.

©Ted Bodner


Seeds are mottled, about 2.25 mm long by 1.5 mm wide.

Steve Hurst, USDA-NRCS Plants Database


Lespedezas are a diverse and ecologically important genus. These nitrogen-fixing plants improve soil fertility and provide a food source for many species of wildlife. Hairy lespedeza is found throughout the southern Midwest on rocky, acidic soils commonly associated with glades and savannas. As with most legumes, hairy lespedeza's leaflets occur in threes. Hairy lespedeza earns its name from its stem and oblong leaflets, both of which are covered with hairs. Hairy lespedeza is a perennial.

Bloom period

July to October

Use by bobwhites

Bobwhites readily eat the seeds of this plant. Its structure and status as a legume make hairy lespedeza valuable for brood rearing cover as well.