Scientific name: Lespedeza sericea
Common names: Poor man’s lucerne, Lespedeza, Chinese bush clover, Armmanslusern
Varieties: AU Lotan
Seeding rate: 1.5 – 2.5 g/m² (15 – 25 kg/ha)
Growth cycle: Perennial
Growth season: Warm season
Poor man’s lucerne is a perennial warm-season herb legume that can grow on severely eroded and sterile soils. It has a shrubby growth form with a height of 0.5 – 2m. Flowers are white to yellow. Leaves are trifoliate with a broad rounded apex and narrow base. Pods are green to tan and is flat, oval to round with only one seed per pod that is light brown to brown. It has a deep taproot that grows 1 m deep. It grows best in warm regions and is sensitive to frost and moderately tolerant of cold. It grows well in areas receiving a rainfall higher than 650 mm per annum or under irrigation. Poor man’s lucerne originates from Eastern Asia. It is used for forage (low tannin cultivars), hay and soil conservation. It combines well with temperate perennial grasses like Tall fescue (Festuca araundinacea). Lespedeza cuneata is an earlier scientific name for poor man’s lucerne.