Hedysarum conglomeratum Poir.
Hedysarum frutescens Willd.
Hedysarum umbellatum Walter
Lespedeza bicknellii House
Lespedeza frutescens Elliott
Lespedeza stuevei DC.
Lespedeza velutina E.P.Bicknell
Common Name: Roundhead Lespedeza
Lespedeza capitata is an erect, herbaceous perennial plant producing a cluster of stems usualy 60 - 120cm tall, occasionally reaching 150cm[
The plant is harvested from the wild for local and commercial use as a medicine and local use as a tea, and also for use as an ingredient in cosmetics. It is grown in soil conservation programmes and is also sometimes grown as an ornamental in gardens.
Eastern and central N. America - South Dakota through southern Ontario to Maine, south to Texas and northern Florida
]. Sandy open woods or open ground in Texas[
]. Upland woods, thickets and prairies, on glades and along streams, railroads and roadsides[
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Lespedeza capitata is a very cold-hardy plant, able to tolerate temperatures down to around -30°c when fully dormant[
Prefers a position in full sun, tolerating partial shade[
]. Easily grown in a light to medium, well-drained loam[
]. Succeeds in soils of low fertility[
]. Established plants are drought tolerant[
The plant produces cleistogamous flowers (closed flowers that produce fertile seed without being pollinated) as well as hermaphrodite flowes that are pollinated by insects, especially bees[
Plants can self-sow in the garden when well-sited[
This species has a symbiotic relationship with certain soil bacteria, these bacteria form nodules on the roots and fix atmospheric nitrogen. Some of this nitrogen is utilized by the growing plant but some can also be used by other plants growing nearby[
The leaves have been boiled to make a tea[
The plant contains several biologically active compounds, particularly flavonoids and tannins[
]. Commercial pharmaceutical preparations are manufactured from them[
The leaves and flowering stems are an effective diuretic with kidney-protecting virtues. Normally used in tincture form, it has been shown to also have hypoglycaemic, hypotensive and hypocholesterolemic activities[
An extract of the plant is of disputed utility in chronic kidney disease[
]. Experimentally, it has demonstrated antitumor activity against Walker-256 carcinosarcoma and is also reportedly effective in lowering blood cholesterol levels[
]. It is also believed to reduce blood levels of nitrogen compounds in persons with high nitrogen levels in their urine[
The root has been used as an antidote to poisoning[
The stems have been used in moxibustion in the treatment of neuralgia and rheumatism[
An extract of the whole plant is used as an ingredient in commercial cosmetic preparations as a skin conditioner[
An extract of the leaves and stems is used as an ingredient in commercial cosmetic preparations as a skin conditioner and protector[
Pre-soak the seed for 24 hours in warm water and then sow it in spring in a greenhouse. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts.
Cuttings of half-ripe wood, 7 - 10cm with a heel, mid summer in individual pots in a frame. It can be difficult to get the cuttings through their first winter, it is best to plunge the pots in a bed of ashes in a sheltered border outdoors[