Submitted to: Trifolium Conference Abstract & Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: May 15, 1998
Publication Date: N/A
Interpretive Summary: White clover collected from southeastern U.S. pastures that are closely grazed is often a small-leaf type rather than a large-leaf type. Most white clover cultivars sold in the U.S. are large-leaf types. The objective of this study was to determine the relative seed production of white clover populations collected from pastures with that of common cultivars when grown in a pasture. White clover populations produced more flowers, greater numbers of seed, and greater seed weights than most cultivars when grown in a bermudagrass pasture. Due to their large seed production, these populations have the ability to maintain a stand in pastures through seedling establishment in the fall. The lower seed production of cultivars would make survival by reseeding difficult. These results show that, for closely grazed pastures, scientists should develop white clover cultivars with high levels of seed production for reseeding to maintain successful clover stands in the pasture.
Technical Abstract: Naturalized populations of white clover, Trifolium repens L., collected in pastures throughout the southeastern U.S. are often small-leaf rather than large-leaf types. The objective of this study was to determine the potential seed production of naturalized populations collected from pastures in the southeastern U.S. with cultivars when grown in a pasture. Seven populations were collected from continuously-stocked pastures in AL, LA, GA, and MS. Cultivars and germplasms used were Brown Loam No.2, Huia, LA S-1, Osceola, Regal, Prestige, and SRVR. The plants were space planted into a common bermudagrass, Cynodon dactylon (L.) Pers., pasture in fall 1995 and 1996. All populations had more flower heads than all cultivars in 1996 and six of seven cultivars in 1997. The populations also had a higher percentage of these flowers reach maturity than the cultivars. The number of seeds and total seed weight varied between years. In 1996, the seven populations had greater seed numbers and seed weight than six of seven cultivars. In 1997, there was more variability between cultivars and populations for seed production as only three populations had greater seed numbers and seed weight than six of seven cultivars. The large amounts of seed produced by the populations (up to 61 g/m2) in a common bermudagrass pasture indicate that there is a great potential for seedling recruitment as the mechanism of stand regeneration in these populations under pasture conditions.