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.