The Bugwood Network

Plant Invaders of Mid-Atlantic Natural Areas

Swearingen, J., K. Reshetiloff, B. Slattery, and S. Zwicker. 2002. Plant Invaders of
Mid-Atlantic Natural Areas. National Park Service and U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, 82 pp.

Chinese Lespedeza
Jil Swearingen, NPS
Chinese Lespedeza
Lespedeza cuneata

Chinese lespedeza was introduced from Asia by federal and state agencies for use in bank stabilization, soil improvement, wildlife forage, hay and other purposes. It has become established throughout the U.S. and invades a wide variety of habitats including fields, prairies, pond borders, swamps, meadows, open woodlands and disturbed grounds. Once established, it out-competes native plants and develops an extensive seed bank in the soil. Lespedeza's high tannin content makes it unpalatable to native wildlife and livestock. It spreads by seed.

Chinese Lespedeza
James H. Miller

Prevention and Control
Hand pulling is impractical due to lespedeza's extensive perennial root system. Mowing plants in the flower stage for two or three consecutive years may control spread. Plants should be cut as low as possible. Several herbicides are labeled for use on Chinese lespedeza and are effective when used in early to mid summer.

Native Alternatives
blue or yellow wild indigo (Baptisia australis or tinctoria), partridge pea (Cassia fasciculata), Virginia wild rye (Elymus virginicus), little bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium), wild senna (Senna hebecarpa or marilandica)

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USDA Forest ServiceUSDA APHIS PPQThe Bugwood Network University of Georgia Bargeron, C.T., D.J. Moorhead, G.K. Douce, R.C. Reardon & A.E. Miller
(Tech. Coordinators). 2003. Invasive Plants of the Eastern U.S.:
Identification and Control. USDA Forest Service - Forest Health
Technology Enterprise Team. Morgantown, WV USA. FHTET-2003-08.