Little Volcano Bush Clover. On my first trip to Japan we were visiting the home of Mr. Akari Shibamichi where we saw a clump of this Lespedeza, and we were all totally smitten. He had collected it on the Ryukyu Islands off of the southern coast of Japan, a zone 10 area. Hence, he thought that it might not be hardy for us. The next year he had dug the plant and placed it in a large nursery container where it looked somewhat neglected. The following year, it looked to be on its last leg, so I asked his permission to get a shoot from the base of the plant. He gladly obliged by retrieving a small spade from his tool shed. I was only able to remove a 3/4" thick sprout with no roots. Upon returning home, I put it in a pot on bottom heat and from this un-rooted woody piece I was able to coax two small shoots from which I made two cuttings. These were rooted and if it hadn't been for this, the plant would probably be lost to cultivation. It has since disappeared from Mr. Shibamichi's garden. I gave Tony Avent of Plant Delights Nursery one of my first rootings, and a year later he called me exuberant over the floral display that it had produced. He suggested that we give it a cultivar name, so I left that up to Tony. He named it 'Little Volcano' because it "erupts" with flowers late each fall. It is a slightly darker magenta color than 'Gibraltar' and begins to flower as soon as 'Gibraltar' is finished. It seems to overly cold hardy as the branch tips only kill back a few inches each winter. With our warm nights, it appears that it will get much larger than in its native haunts, maybe even 8-10'. But one added bonus is that it has a brilliant yellow fall color, and I don't know of any other Lespedeza that does this. All Lespedezas have dense root systems making them an excellent choice for soil erosion control on banks or slopes on banks. The first picture is of the original plant in Mr. Shibamichi's garden in Japan.