Flora of the Southeastern United States
2022 Edition

Colors

Data mode

Key to Lespedeza

1 Leaflets distinctly widest toward the tip, 3-5× as long as wide, the base and apex very differently shaped (the base narrowly cuneate, the tip rounded, truncate or even retuse); racemes reduced, with 2-3 flowers, shorter than the subtending leaves; [plants alien]
1 Leaflets generally widest near the middle, 1-8 (-10)× as long as wide, the base and apex shaped similarly (i.e., both rounded, or both cuneate); racemes with 3-many flowers, shorter or longer than the subtending leaves; [plants native, except L. virgata and L. daurica].
..2 Midrib of leaflets distinctly excurrent as a spinose bristle 0.5-1.5 mm long; [rare aliens].
....3 Inflorescence with a short and stout peduncle; flowers 4-7 per inflorescence, the flowers congested; peduncles pubescent
....3 Inflorescence with a long, filiform peduncle; flowers 2-6 per inflorescence, the flowers spaced; peduncles glabrous
..2 Midrib of leaflets not excurrent, or only as an obscure mucro, not at all spinose; [plants native or alien].
......4 Plants trailing at maturity (young stems erect to arching-ascending up to 2 dm tall, then lopping over); stems slender, wiry; corolla pink to purple.
........5 Leaflet lower surfaces gray-green to white
........5 Leaflet lower surfaces green.
..........6 Pubescence of the stem spreading (pilose), the hairs at more-or-less 90 degree angles to the stem.
..........6 Pubescence of the stem appressed (strigose).
............7 Plant trailing, typically mat-forming (after initial ascending growth); calyx of legumes produced from cleistogamous flowers 1/4-1/3 as long as the pod (cleistogamous flowers are clustered and sessile in leaf axils, in contrast to the chasmogamous flowers borne in groups on long, axillary, ascending peduncles); stems usually lacking axillary leaves; keel subequal to the wings, or shorter; stipules 2-4 (-5) mm long
............7 Plant ascending (keyed here for rare sprawling individuals); calyx of legumes produced from cleistogamous flowers ca. 1/5 as long as the pod; stems often with axillary leaves distinctly smaller than the primary leaves; keel usually longer than the wings; stipules 3-5 (-6) mm long
......4 Plants erect at maturity; stems generally stout, stiff; corolla pink, purple, white, cream, or mixed.
..............8 Plants in flower.
................9 Corolla primarily white or cream (often with a purplish throat).
..................10 Raceme peduncles short (shorter than the subtending leaf), the inflorescence itself barely if at all exceeding the subtending leaf; calyx lobes 6-10 mm long; leaflets (2-) 2.5-5 (-8)× as long as wide
..................10 Raceme peduncles elongate (often longer than the subtending leaf), the inflorescence itself well-exserted beyond the subtending leaf; calyx lobes 3-7 mm long; leaflets either narrower or wider (see below).
....................11 Leaflets 4-8 (-10)× as long as wide, the margins essentially straight and parallel for most of the leaflet length; petioles of midstem and upper stem leaves 1-3 mm long
....................11 Leaflets 1.3-1.8× as long as wide, the margins obviously and strongly curving from base to apex; petioles of midstem and upper stem leaves mainly 10-15 mm long.
......................12 Leaves closely strigose on both surfaces with hairs 0.2-0.5 mm long, silvery when fresh; leaflets 1-2 cm long; petiole of midstem leaves not generally > 1 cm long, about the same length as the rachis; [plants of the Coastal Plain and, in NC and SC, the lower Piedmont]
......................12 Leaves glabrate, or strigose above only, at least some of the hairs (especially those on the veins below) > 0.5 mm long, green or grey (to somewhat silvery) when fresh; leaflets 1.5-4 (-5) cm long; petiole of midstem leaves 1-1.5 (-2) cm long, much exceeding the rachis; [plants widespread in our area]
................9 Corolla primarily pink or purple.
........................13 Peduncles of the racemes of chasmogamous (petaliferous) flowers longer than the subtending leaves; keel > 1 mm longer than the wings.
..........................14 Stems to 7 dm long, herbaceous, not bushy-branched; petioles of medial leaves 0.5-2 cm long; chasmogamous panicles with 4-7 flowers; corolla 6-8 mm long; legumes of the chasmogamous flowers glabrate or inconspicuously strigulose, 5-7 mm long; [native]
..........................14 Stems 10-30 dm long, woody or suffrutescent, bushy-branched; petioles of medial leaves 2-4 cm long; chasmogamous panicles with 5-15 flowers; corolla 8-15 mm long; legumes of the chasmogamous flowers strigose, 7-8 mm long; [plants alien, planted in ‘wildlife food plots’ and persisting or spreading]; [section Macrolespedeza].
............................15 Leaflets 1.3× as long as wide; calyx lobes aristate; [rare waif]
............................15 Leaflets 1.5-3× as long as wide; calyx lobes acute to acuminate; [collectively common in most of our area].
..............................16 Calyx lobes equal to or shorter than the calyx tube; corolla 8-11 mm long; leaflets 1.5-2× as long as wide; racemes erect or strongly ascending; stems 1-several per crown, brown when young
..............................16 Calyx lobes longer than the calyx tube (at least the lowest lobe); corolla (10-) 12-15 mm long; leaflets 2-3× as long as wide; racemes lax and drooping; stems many per crown, purplish when young
........................13 Peduncles of the racemes of chasmogamous (petaliferous) flowers absent or shorter than the subtending leaves; keel about as long as or shorter than the wings.
................................17 Stems 10-30 dm long, woody or suffrutescent, bushy-branched; leaflets 1.3× as long as wide
................................17 Stems to 15 dm long, herbaceous, mostly virgate; leaflets > 1.3× as long as wide.
..................................18 Upper surface of the leaflets glabrous (sometimes strigose along the midrib only); pubescence of the stem appressed; leaflets 1.5-3× as long as wide
..................................18 Upper surface of the leaflets pubescent; pubescence of the stem appressed or spreading; leaflets 1.3-7× as long as wide.
....................................19 Leaflets 1.3-3 (-3.5)× as long as wide
....................................19 Leaflets (4-) 5-7× as long as wide
..............8 Plants not in flower.
......................................20 Leaflets of average, mid-stem leaves > 4× as long as wide (L. capitata keyed here and below).
........................................21 Petioles of mid-stem leaves ca. 10 mm long
........................................21 Petioles of mid-stem leaves 1-3 mm long.
..........................................22 Leaflets 4-8(-10)× as long as wide
..........................................22 Leaflets (2-) 2.5-5 (-8)× as long as wide
......................................20 Leaflets of average, mid-stem leaves < 3.5× as long as wide (L. capitata keyed here and above).
............................................23 Leaflets (2-) 2.5-5 (-8)× as long as wide; leaf rachis (not including the petiolule of the terminal leaflet) longer than the petiole
............................................23 Leaflets 1-3 (-3.5)× as long as wide; leaf rachis shorter than the petiole (or about equal in L. hirta var. curtissii).
..............................................24 Central axis not strongly dominant, branches divaricate, irregular; stems slender, wiry
..............................................24 Central axis strongly dominant, branches ascending, mostly on the upper stem; stems stout, stiff.
................................................25 Stems 10-30 dm tall, woody or suffrutescent, 1-many from the base; median leaf petiole 2-4 cm long; [plants alien, planted in ‘wildlife food plots’ and persisting and naturalizing]; [section Macrolespedeza].
..................................................26 Leaves 1-1.3× as long as wide; calyx lobes aristate; [rare waif]
..................................................26 Leaves 1.5-3× as long as wide; calyx lobes acute to acuminate; [collectively common in most of our area].
....................................................27 Calyx lobes equal to or shorter than the calyx tube; leaflets 1.5-2 × as long as wide; racemes erect or strongly ascending; stems 1-several per crown, brown when young
....................................................27 Calyx lobes longer than the calyx tube (at least the lowest lobe); leaflets 2-3 × as long as wide; racemes lax and drooping; stems many per crown, purplish when young
................................................25 Stems 3-15 (-20) dm tall, herbaceous, 1-few from the base; median leaf petiole 0.7-2.5 cm long; [native].
......................................................28 Leaflets (1.3-) 1.8-3 (-3.5)× as long as wide.
........................................................29 Upper surface of the leaflets pubescent; pubescence of the stem appressed or spreading
........................................................29 Upper surface of the leaflets glabrous (sometimes strigose along the midrib only); pubescence of the stem appressed
......................................................28 Leaflets 1.3-1.8× as long as wide.
..........................................................30 Leaves closely strigose on both surfaces with hairs 0.2-0.5 mm long, silvery when fresh; leaflets 1-2 cm long; petiole of midstem leaves not generally > 1 cm long, about the same length as the rachis; [plants of the Coastal Plain and, in NC and SC, the lower Piedmont]
..........................................................30 Leaves glabrate, or strigose above only, at least some of the hairs (especially those on the veins below) > 0.5 mm long, green or grey (to somewhat silvery) when fresh; leaflets 1.5-4 (-5) cm long; petiole of midstem leaves 1-1.5 (-2) cm long, much exceeding the rachis; [plants widespread in our area]