round-headed bush clover

(Lespedeza capitata)

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List

not yet assessed

round-headed bush clover


N5? - Secure

SNR - Unranked


not listed


Great Plains

UPL - Obligate upland


FACU - Facultative upland

Northcentral & Northeast

FACU - Facultative upland






Dry to moderate moisture. Prairies, sand dunes, woodland openings. Full to partial sun.


July to September

Flower Color

Cream colored (yellowish-white), with a pinkish or purple throat.


2 to 4



This is a 2 to 4 tall, erect, perennial forb that rises on one or more stems from a taproot.

The stems are erect, leafy, and usually unbranched or with a few branches above the middle. They are densely covered with soft, silvery hairs.

The leaves are alternate, and compound, divided into 3 leaflets. They are on short, 1 16 to 3 16 long leaf stalks. The stalk of the terminal leaflet is longer than the leaf stalk. The leaflets are ascending, oval, 1 to 2 long, to ¾ wide, and may be tipped with a short, sharp, abrupt point. The hairiness of the upper surface is variable. They are usually covered in dense, soft, appressed, hairs, and often have a silvery sheen, but they may be hairless. The lower surface is always covered in dense, soft, appressed hairs. The margins are untoothed.

The inflorescence is a round, head-like, dense cluster of 10 to 45 crowded flowers. The clusters are on a short stalk at the ends of stems and branches, or are unstalked in the leaf axils. The flower heads turn dark brown when they mature.

The flowers are from less than ¼ to long and pea-like, with 5 petals organized into a broad banner at the top, 2 narrow wings, and a keel in the center formed by two petals fused together at the tip. The petals are cream colored (yellowish-white) with a pinkish or purple patch near the throat. There is no floral scent.

The fruit is a 1-seeded, hairy pod, about 1 5 long.


Prairie bush clover (Lespedeza leptostachya) has narrower leaflets and loose flower heads.

Distribution Distribution Map   Sources: 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 28.





Fabaceae (pea)



Faboideae (Papilionoideae)








Hedysarum conglomeratum

Hedysarum frutescens

Hedysarum umbellatum

Lespedeza bicknellii

Lespedeza capitata f. argentea

Lespedeza capitata var. sericea

Lespedeza capitata var. stenophylla

Lespedeza capitata var. typica

Lespedeza capitata var. velutina

Lespedeza capitata var. vulgaris

Lespedeza frutescens

Lespedeza stuevei

Lespedeza velutina


bush clover


dusty clover

round-head bush-clover

round-headed bush clover

roundhead lespedeza

round-head lespedeza

round-headed lespedeza













The upper angle where the leaf stalk meets the stem.


Compound leaf

A leaf that is divided into leaflets, each leaflet having the general appearance of a leaf, with all leaflets attached to a single leaf stem.


Visitor Photos

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  round-headed bush clover   round-headed bush clover


  round-headed bush clover   round-headed bush clover
  round-headed bush clover   round-headed bush clover


  round-headed bush clover   round-headed bush clover
  round-headed bush clover   round-headed bush clover
  round-headed bush clover   round-headed bush clover


  round-headed bush clover   round-headed bush clover





  Lezpedeza capitata PRAIRIE BUSHCLOVER
Frank Mayfield
  Lezpedeza capitata PRAIRIE BUSHCLOVER  




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Afton State Park

Blaine Preserve SNA

Blue Mounds State Park

Boot Lake SNA

Bunker Hills Regional Park

Camden State Park

Carpenter St. Croix Valley Nature Center

Carver Park Reserve

Cedar Mountain SNA

Chimney Rock SNA

Cottonwood River Prairie SNA

Crow Wing State Park

Crow-Hassan Park Reserve

Des Moines River SNA

Dodge Nature Center

Elm Creek Park Reserve

Frontenac State Park

Glacial Lakes State Park

Glendalough State Park

Glynn Prairie SNA

Great River Bluffs State Park

Grey Cloud Dunes SNA

Hastings Sand Coulee SNA

Helen Allison Savanna SNA

Hyland Lake Park Reserve

Joseph A. Tauer Prairie SNA

Kasota Prairie

Kellogg Weaver Dunes SNA
Kellogg Weaver Unit
Weaver Dunes Unit

Kilen Woods State Park

Lake Alexander Woods SNA
South Unit

Lake Carlos State Park

Lake Elmo Park Reserve

Lake Louise State Park

Lebanon Hills Regional Park

Lost Valley Prairie SNA

McKnight Prairie

Minnesota Valley NWR
Louisville Swamp Unit

Mississippi River County Park

Morton Outcrops SNA

Mound Prairie SNA

Myre-Big Island State Park

Northern Tallgrass Prairie NWR
Touch the Sky Prairie Unit

Ordway Prairie

Osmundson Prairie SNA

Oxbow Park & Zollman Zoo

Pin Oak Prairie SNA

Pine Bend Bluffs SNA

Prairie Coteau SNA

Red Rock Prairie

Rice Lake Savanna SNA

Ripley Esker SNA

River Terrace Prairie SNA

Rock Ridge Prairie SNA

St. Croix Savanna SNA

Schaefer Prairie

Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge

Sibley State Park

Spring Beauty Northern Hardwoods SNA

Spring Creek Prairie SNA

Spring Lake Park Reserve

Sunfish Lake Park

Twin Lakes SNA

Uncas Dunes SNA

Valley View Park, Oak Park Heights

Vermillion Highlands

Wahpeton Prairie WMA

Whitetail Woods Regional Park

Wild Indigo Prairie SNA

Wild River State Park

William O’Brien State Park

Woodland Trails Park




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