Korean clover from Anne in SC

I read the article on your website about lawn alternatives, and thought that I might have creeping lespedeza growing here (Seneca). I was quite delighted to identify it as a native lawn alternative as it has done great and never needs any water. Then a little while ago, I came across “common lespedeza” of the genus kummerowia on an invasive plant website, and now I’m not sure what I have, since they look very similar (http://www.invasive.org/browse/detail.cfm?imgnum=1120156). Are you able to identify it as one or the other – I’m keeping my fingers crossed for creeping lespedeza, as that would be a wonderful experiment to grow that as a lawn. It has already taken over most of the front lawn, and it’s really pretty.

Kind regards


Hi Anne,

I know creeping lespedeza as Lespedeza procumbens, a native in the upstate.  It has long-creeping stems rather than erect ones.  I’m not sure it would grow thickly enough to cover areas, but maybe it would  if fertilized and maintained.  The image you are showing looks to me like the Korean clover, the Kummerowia that you also mentioned.  The name gets a bit confused because the plant used to be called Lespedeza – there are two species – K. striata and K. stipulacea that differ only by the hairs pointing up on the stem vs the hairs pointing down on the stem.  I believe that it is an annual, so it is fine but all dies off in the winter and resprouts in the spring, so its value is limited also.  All will improve the soil.  I wish they were evergreen so that they could be better used in landscaping.  – Steve Hill  – SCNPS

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