Location: Forage and Range Research
Title: Western and Searls Prairie Clovers: North American Legumes for Rangeland Revegetation Authors
Submitted to: Society for Range Management Meeting Abstracts
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: September 25, 2009
Publication Date: February 5, 2010
Citation: Johnson, D.A., Bhattarai, K., Bushman, B.S., Connors, K.J. 2010. Western and Searls Prairie Clovers: North American Legumes for Rangeland Revegeetation. Society for Range Management Meeting Abstracts. Technical Abstract: Only a few North American legumes are commercially available for rangeland revegetation in the western U.S. Western prairie clover (Dalea ornata) and Searls prairie clover (D. searlsiae) are two North American legumes that hold promise for use in rangeland revegetation and conservation. Seeds of western and Searls prairie clover were collected from a diversity of sites in the western U.S. Seedlings from these collected seeds were grown in a greenhouse and transplanted in common gardens at two field sites in northern Utah. Plants were evaluated for their morphological characteristics, plant vigor, forage yield and quality, potential seed production, and regrowth. Field results showed that populations of western and Searls prairie clover exhibited considerable variation for most of the measured plant characteristics and that both these species have considerable potential for use in rangeland revegetation and conservation. The same collections of these two species were also evaluated in the laboratory for their genetic diversity structure with molecular (AFLP) techniques. Our data detected greater within collection genetic variation in Searls than western prairie clover and showed that geographical distance played an important role in shaping population structures for both species. Genetic diversity data indicated several potential structured populations for Searls prairie clover and two for western prairie clover, which should be carefully considered in the development of populations for release into commercial seed trade. With their beautiful, showy flowers and their attractiveness to a wide variety of pollinators, these two North American legume species also hold promise for horticultural use.