Virginia Tech Weed Identification Guide

Sericea Lespedeza: Lespedeza cuneata

Weed Description:  A perennial with erect stems that may reach 5 feet in height.  Sericea lespedeza is often a weed of pastures, hay fields, roadsides, and abandoned fields.  It is found throughout the southeastern United States.
Leaves: Leaves are arranged alternately along the stem and are divided into 3 smaller leaflets.  Individual leaflets range from 1/2 to 3/4 inches long, and have many short hairs on both surfaces.   Leaflets are also oblong to linear in outline, and have a grayish cast.

Stems:  Become somewhat woody with age and have stiff bristles.

Flowers:  Emerge from the position between the stem and leaves (leaf axils) in the middle to upper portions of the plant.  Flowers occur either singly or in clusters of 2 to 4.  Individual flowers are white with violet or purple markings. 
Identifying Characteristics:   The alternately arranged leaves that are divided into 3 smaller leaflets and erect stems with stiff hairs are all characteristics that help in the identification of sericea lespedeza.