Hi, Dr. Hill,
This plant was photographed on Aug. 11 in the Fall Line, full sun, mostly clay soil, in a wide ditch on a paved two-lane road at the outskirts of a small town. The leaves are fuzzy–everywhere–and grouped in threes, alternating along the stem. The youngest leaves at the top have a faint pinkish tinge along the edges. There were only a handful of this plant in the ditch and the tallest was over 5-ft. It had no branching parts, just the single main stem.
this is a species of Desmodium, a rather common native plant, but with many species. They cannot be identified very conclusively until they have fruits, which are called loments. It is in the bean family. The first picture you sent shows developmental damage, probably from herbicides. This is called a cristate form.
Dr. Steven R. Hill, Botanist, SCNPS