Lespedeza capitata (Round-headed Bush Clover)
|Also known as:||Rabbit foot, Roundhead Lespedeza|
|Habitat:||sun; dry fields|
|Bloom season:||July - September|
|Plant height:||2 to 5 feet|
|Wetland Indicator Status:||GP: UPL MW: FACU NCNE: FACU|
|MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):|
|National distribution (click map to enlarge):|
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Densely packed, round to oval clusters about 1½ inch diameter on hairy stalks arising from the upper leaf axils and at the tip of the stem, the cluster stalk shorter than the subtending leaf. Flowers are white, about ¼-inch across, 1 large petal at the top with a spot of purple near its base, and 2 small petals below. The calyx is densely hairy and has 5 sharply pointed lobes about as long as or a little shorter than the flower. Often only a few flowers in a cluster are open at a time.
Leaves and stem:
Leaves are compound in 3s, spreading to nearly erect, short-stalked to nearly stalkless, alternately attached. Leaflets are up to 3 inches long and to 1 inch wide, toothless, usually rounded on both ends but may have a pointed tip. The end leaflet is largest and longer stalked than the 2 lateral leaflets. Surfaces are often densely covered in appressed, silky hairs that can give a gray or blue-green cast, though the upper surface may be only sparsely hairy. Stems are erect to leaning or somewhat nodding at the tip, densely covered in fine white hairs, ridged, and typically unbranched.
Round-headed Bush Clover is easy to spot in winter, the persistent heads really stand out.
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Where to buy native seed and plants ↓
- Round-headed Bush Clover plants
- Round-headed Bush Clover with Blue Giant Hyssop
- previous season plants in spring
- new growth sprouting over the remains from the previous season
- more flowers
Photos by K. Chayka taken in Anoka and Ramsey counties. Other photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk.
Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?