Thursday, May 21, 2009

Running with the Buffalo...

Running Buffalo Clover, Trifolium stoloniferum

It is always a privilege to go botanizing with Rick Gardner, Ohio's Heritage Botanist. Rick keeps the data base for all the rare and endangered plant species in Ohio, and is a most knowledgeable chap.

Wednesday he assembled a crew to seek out any new or rare finds in a newly minted Division of Natural Areas and Preserves acquisition, Boch Hollow. And we looked high (for birds and butterflies) and low for plants, lichens and mosses.

It is a thrill to report we found Running Buffalo Cover, Trifolium stoloniferum a plant that requires disturbance to propagate and thrive. Our find was along a road/trail, right in the path of traffic. It is a large and robust clover, with 1.5 inch heads and long stoloniferious rhizomes. Although believed common when there were buffalo trails throughout the Midwest, the Running Buffalo Clover has been nearly extirpated. With only a few remaining holdouts, it appears the clover is becoming as rare as the buffalos.

Martin McAllister also had a recent finding of Running Buffalo Clover along a ATV trail in southern Ohio. Perhaps they are the new buffalo, grinding up the prairie and producing corridors for the Buffalo Clover to roam.

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