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This article in CS

  1. Vol. 39 No. 6, p. 1809-1814
    Received: Dec 18, 1998

    * Corresponding author(s): geb1@ra.msstate.edu
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Growth of White Clover Ecotypes, Cultivars, and Germplasms in the Southeastern USA

  1. G. E. Brink *a,
  2. G. A. Pedersona,
  3. M. W. Alisonb,
  4. D. M. Ballc,
  5. J. H. Boutond,
  6. R. C. Rawlse,
  7. J. A. Stuedemannf and
  8. B. C. Venutog
  1. a USDA-ARS, P.O. Box 5367, Mississippi State, MS 39762 USA
    b Macon Ridge Res. Stn., 212 Macon Ridge Rd., Winnsboro, LA 71295 USA
    c 120 Extension Hall, Auburn University, Auburn, AL 36849-5633 USA
    d Crop & Soil Sciences Dep., Univ. of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602-7272 USA
    e Upper Coastal Plain Substn., P.O. Box 706, Winfield, AL 35594 USA
    f USDA-ARS, J. Phil Campbell, Sr., Natural Resource Conservation Center, 1420 Exp. Stn. Rd., Watkinsville, GA 30677 USA
    g Louisiana State University, 215 M.B. Sturgis Hall, Baton Rouge, LA 70803 USA


Naturalized populations, or ecotypes, of white clover (Trifolium repens L.) are found in many southeastern U.S. pastures, often persisting despite adverse environmental and cultural conditions. Our objective was to compare the growth, morphology, and vegetative persistence of white clover ecotypes (small- to medium-leaf) with selected cultivars (large-leaf) and improved germplasm under grazing in four southeastern states. Seed or stolons of white clover ecotypes were collected primarily from grazed pastures in spring 1994 in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia, and increased by intercrossing. Plots of seven ecotype collections, ‘Osceola’, ‘Regal’, ‘Louisiana S-1’, ‘Grasslands Huia’, ‘Grasslands Prestige’, Brown Loam Synthetic No. 2 germplasm, and Southern Regional Virus Resistant germplasm were established in October 1995 in each state. Plots were stocked continuously with cattle (Bos taurus) (5-cm stubble) from January 1996 to January 1998. Stolon length and axillary bud viability, and number of stolon apices, rooted nodes, and seedlings were measured every 3 mo. Stolon length of the ecotypes usually exceeded that of the cultivars and germplasm at all locations, particularly in the winter and spring. By the end of the experiment, the ecotypes also exhibited greater stolon branching than the cultivars and germplasm (1580 vs. 320 branches m−2). Superior vegetative growth of the ecotypes was attributed to a greater proportion of the stolon nodes being both branched and rooted, particularly during the summer. White clover ecotypes represent a valuable source of germplasm to incorporate into breeding programs or to develop directly into more persistent cultivars.

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