lespedeza (lĕsˌpədēˈzə) [key] or bush clover, any plant of the genus Lespedeza, leguminous herbs or undershrubs of the family Leguminosae (pulse family); native to North America, Asia, and Australia. Lespedezas are valuable for hay and pasturage and, in conservation, for game cover and erosion control. They are hot weather plants that grow well in poor soils. The Asian species, e.g., the common lespedeza, or Japanese clover ( L. striata ), are the ones usually cultivated, and several have been naturalized in the SE United States. Lespedeza is classified in the division Magnoliophyta, class Magnoliopsida, order Rosales, family Leguminosae.
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