This dome-shaped plant is displaying pendent racemes of vibrant flowers on the Systematic Beds.
Lespedeza thunbergii is a native of China and Japan, and was introduced to western gardens by the German physician and botanist Philp von Siebold in the 1830’s. It is a semi-shrubby species whose stems die-back over winter, to be replaced by new stems up to 2.5m in length each spring. The alternate leaves are trifoliate, and are oval-lanceolate in shape and are hairy on the lower surface, especially along the midrib. Pendent axillary and terminal racemes carry intense pink, pea-shaped flowers, typical of the pea family to which it belongs. This is a late-flowering species which enjoys well-drained soils in a sunny situation, though it can be shy to flower following dull, wet summers. The species commemorates V M Cespedez (1721-1794), the Spanish governor of Florida (though his name was mis-spelt), and Carl Thunberg, a Swedish physician (1743-1822).