Running buffalo clover (Trifolium stoloniferum; RBC), is a recently delisted stoloniferous species that occurs in several eastern states of the United States. Once thought to be extinct, RBC was rediscovered in West Virginia in 1985 and it is generally accepted that it requires moderate disturbance and filtered sunlight to grow. We studied how light availability and photosynthetic parameters are related to stolon production and overall plant growth. We sampled six occurrences in the USDA Forest Service Fernow Experimental Forest (Parsons, WV) in September 2018. For each occurrence, we measured light, plant response, and environmental variables. There were no significant correlations among plant growth variables and light variables suggesting that light may not be the only driver in asexual reproduction of RBC. However, there were some correlations between light variables and environmental variables as well as environmental variables and plant growth variables which lead us to conclude that for management of the species, more than light variables may need to be taken into consideration. This information could be potentially useful in the conservation of the species.
LaBella, Jessica; LaFantasie, Jordge; Thomas-Van Gundy, Melissa; McDonald, Louis M. 2022. Effect of light interception on photosynthetic capacity and vegetative reproduction of running buffalo clover. Research Note NRS-310. Madison, WI: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northern Research Station. 24 p. https://doi.org/10.2737/NRS-RN-310.