Desmodium tomentosum DC.
Hedysarum tomentosum Thunb.
Hedysarum villosum Willd.
Lespedeza glomerata Hornem.
Lespedeza hirta Miq.
Lespedeza macrophylla Bunge
Lespedeza villosa (Willd.) Pers.
Meibomia tomentosa (Thunb.) Kuntze
Lespedeza tomentosa is an erect, perennial plant with branched or unbranched stems that can become more or less woody and persist; it can grow around 1 metre tall[
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a food.
E. Asia - Russia (Far East), China, central and southern Japan, Korea, Himalayan region of Pakistan, India, Nepal.
Grassy slopes in hills[
]. Arid mountain slopes, grasslands and thickets; at elevations up to 1,000 metres in most of China[
Lespedeza tomentosa is a very cold-hardy plant, the rootstock being able to tolerate temperatures down to about -30°c when fully dormant. The top growth is much less hardy, however, and will be killed back to near the roots in all but very mild winters. However, plants will generally resprout freely from the base in the following spring and then flower in late summer[
]. A long growing season is required if the seed is to ripen successfully, and a hot summer will more fully ripen the wood, thus making it more likely to survive the winter[
Species in this genus generally grow best in a sunny position but are tolerant of some shade. They grow well in soils of a medium to light nature, tolerating dry conditions and low fertility[
]. Established plants are generally more or less 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[
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[
Young leaves - cooked[
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[
Division by pulling or chopping the root-stock into the smaller pieces about mid spring. Pieces small enough, with root attached, may be potted and placed in a propagator where there is bottom-heat[