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Japanese Clover (Kummerowia striata (Thunb.) Schindl.)

Also known as common lespedeza; also classified as Lespedeza striata (Thunb.) Hook. & Arn..

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Japanese Clover
Photo © mayfly1963, CC BY 4.0.


An annual nitrogen-fixer that prefers sun and sandy soils, native to East Asia and invasive in the southeastern US.

Range - Expand

Introduced or Not Present

This tentative map is based on our own research. It may have limited data on Canada and/or Mexico, and there is some subjectivity in our assignment of plants as introduced vs. expanded. Read more in this blog post.

Similar Plants

thumbnail of Korean Clover
Korean Clover (Kummerowia stipulacea)
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This plant has been planted in pastures and grown as forage for livestock. It also has been used to help reclaim mining sites, and to control erosion, especially on sites with sandy soils. Because it is invasive, its use is being replaced by a number of native plants.


Although "common lespedeza" has been used as a common name for this species, it is no longer considered to belong to the Lespedeza genus and as such we recommend avoiding that name as it is misleading. The term "Japanese clover" is somewhat accurate as it is native to Japan, although also perhaps slightly misleading as it is usually contrasted with Korean clover (Kummerowia stipulacea), and both of these species are native to both Japan and Korea.

Kummerowia striata (Japanese Bush Clover) | Illinois Wildflowers (About This Site)

Kummerowia striata (Japanese clover) | USDA PLANTS Database (About This Site)

Kummerowia striata | Go Botany (About This Site)

Kummerowia striata | Biota of North America Project (BONAP) (About This Site)

Kummerowia striata | NatureServe Explorer (About This Site)

Kummerowia striata | Missouri Plants (About This Site)

Japanese Clover | Maryland Biodiversity Project (About This Site)

Kummerowia striata (Thunb.) Schindl. (Japanese-clover) | Digital Atlas of the Virginia Flora (About This Site)

Photo gallery

Photo © mayfly1963, CC BY 4.0.
Photo © Evan M. Raskin, CC BY 4.0.
Photo © Leila Dasher, CC BY 4.0.
Photo © Cole Shoemaker, CC BY 4.0.
Photo © Cole Shoemaker, CC BY 4.0.