any member of a genus (Lespedeza) of herbaceous plants in the pea family (Fabaceae), some of which are useful as forage and green manure crops. The approximately 40 species in the genus are native to North America, tropical and East Asia, and Australia. The lespedezas may be roughly grouped as herbaceous perennials, small shrubs, and annuals. Lespedezas are either erect or trailing in habit, and some perennial species can reach heights of up to 3 m (10 feet). The best-known species have alternate, toothless leaves that are made up of three leaflets. All lespedezas are adapted to warm, humid climates.
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