Trifolium hybridum - L.
Alsike Clover
Other Common Names: alsike clover
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Trifolium hybridum L. (TSN 26261)
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.147285
Element Code: PDFAB40150
Informal Taxonomy: Plants, Vascular - Flowering Plants - Pea Family
 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Plantae Anthophyta Dicotyledoneae Fabales Fabaceae Trifolium
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Concept Reference
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Concept Reference: Kartesz, J.T. 1994. A synonymized checklist of the vascular flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland. 2nd edition. 2 vols. Timber Press, Portland, OR.
Concept Reference Code: B94KAR01HQUS
Name Used in Concept Reference: Trifolium hybridum
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: GNR
Global Status Last Changed: 22Mar1994
Rounded Global Status: GNR - Not Yet Ranked
Nation: United States
National Status: NNA
Nation: Canada
National Status: NNA (30Sep2016)

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
United States Alabama (SNA), Alaska (SNA), Arizona (SNA), Arkansas (SNA), California (SNA), Colorado (SNA), Connecticut (SNA), Delaware (SNA), District of Columbia (SNA), Florida (SNA), Georgia (SNA), Hawaii (SNA), Idaho (SNA), Illinois (SNA), Indiana (SNA), Iowa (SNA), Kansas (SNA), Kentucky (SNA), Louisiana (SNA), Maine (SNA), Maryland (SNA), Massachusetts (SNR), Michigan (SNA), Minnesota (SNA), Mississippi (SNA), Missouri (SNA), Montana (SNA), Nebraska (SNA), Nevada (SNA), New Hampshire (SNA), New Jersey (SNA), New Mexico (SNA), New York (SNA), North Carolina (SNA), North Dakota (SNA), Ohio (SNA), Oklahoma (SNA), Oregon (SNA), Pennsylvania (SNA), Rhode Island (SNA), South Carolina (SNA), South Dakota (SNA), Tennessee (SNA), Utah (SNA), Vermont (SNA), Virginia (SNA), Washington (SNA), West Virginia (SNA), Wisconsin (SNA), Wyoming (SNA)
Canada Alberta (SNA), British Columbia (SNA), Labrador (SNA), Manitoba (SNA), New Brunswick (SNA), Newfoundland Island (SNA), Northwest Territories (SNA), Nova Scotia (SNA), Ontario (SNA), Prince Edward Island (SNA), Quebec (SNA), Saskatchewan (SNA), Yukon Territory (SNA)

Other Statuses

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Distribution
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U.S. States and Canadian Provinces
Color legend for Distribution Map
NOTE: The distribution shown may be incomplete, particularly for some rapidly spreading exotic species.

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States AKexotic, ALexotic, ARexotic, AZexotic, CAexotic, COexotic, CTexotic, DCexotic, DEexotic, FLexotic, GAexotic, HIexotic, IAexotic, IDexotic, ILexotic, INexotic, KSexotic, KYexotic, LAexotic, MA, MDexotic, MEexotic, MIexotic, MNexotic, MOexotic, MSexotic, MTexotic, NCexotic, NDexotic, NEexotic, NHexotic, NJexotic, NMexotic, NVexotic, NYexotic, OHexotic, OKexotic, ORexotic, PAexotic, RIexotic, SCexotic, SDexotic, TNexotic, UTexotic, VAexotic, VTexotic, WAexotic, WIexotic, WVexotic, WYexotic
Canada ABexotic, BCexotic, LBexotic, MBexotic, NBexotic, NFexotic, NSexotic, NTexotic, ONexotic, PEexotic, QCexotic, SKexotic, YTexotic

Range Map
No map available.

Ecology & Life History Not yet assessed
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Economic Attributes
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Economically Important Genus: Y
Management Summary Not yet assessed
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Population/Occurrence Delineation Not yet assessed
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Population/Occurrence Viability
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U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank)
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Disclaimer: While I-Rank information is available over NatureServe Explorer, NatureServe is not actively developing or maintaining these data. Species with I-RANKs do not represent a random sample of species exotic in the United States; available assessments may be biased toward those species with higher-than-average impact.

I-Rank: Medium/Low
Rounded I-Rank: Medium
I-Rank Reasons Summary: This species was introduced from Europe and is still planted primarily for forage and to prevent soil erosion. It occurs in fields, lawns, roadsides, cranberry bogs, oak savannas, rocky slopes/ledges near water, and woodland edges. Noted as invading habitats of the rare plant Lesquerella globosa. It is a nitrogen-fixer and uses high amounts of water. It can tolerate flooding for up to 20 days and its seed can persist for up to six years under ideal conditions. Although scattered across the entire U.S., including Hawaii and Alaska, this species seems to prefer the climate of the upper Midwest and Northeast since it currently does not do well with extended periods of heat. Species was introduced long ago by early settlers and has been adapted to U.S. conditions using natural selection for characteristics and work continues to enhance the clovers. Not much mention of management of this species except by commercial cranberry growers but it does seem necessary where it occurs with native species such as the Lesquerella globosa or in naturally occurring cranberry bogs. Management would seem to have minimal impact since it can be spot treated either with cutting or spraying.
Subrank I - Ecological Impact: Medium/Low
Subrank II - Current Distribution/Abundance: Medium
Subrank III - Trend in Distribution/Abundance: Medium/Low
Subrank IV - Management Difficulty: Medium/Low
I-Rank Review Date: 10Aug2004
Evaluator: Killeffer, T.
Native anywhere in the U.S?
Native Range: Europe (Weakley 2004). Originated in Sweden (Hannaway 2004).

Download "An Invasive Species Assessment Protocol: Evaluating Non-Native Plants for their Impact on Biodiversity". (PDF, 1.03MB)
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Screening Questions

S-1. Established outside cultivation as a non-native? YES
Comments: Lawns, fields, roadsides, and disturbed areas (Weakley 2004). Throughout the U.S. (Kartesz 1999).

S-2. Present in conservation areas or other native species habitat? Yes
Comments: Fields and roadsides (Weakley 2004). Oak savanna and woodland edge (Wisconsin State Herbarium 2004).

Subrank I - Ecological Impact: Medium/Low

1. Impact on Ecosystem Processes and System-wide Parameters:High/Moderate significance
Comments: Controls soil erosion, is a nitrogen fixer (Taylor 1990) and uses high amounts of water (USDA Plants Database 2004).

2. Impact on Ecological Community Structure:Medium/Low significance
Comments: Typically treated as a biennial that supports itself on 2' stalks (Snow Pond Farm Supply 1999). In pasture mixes, this species can dominate a stand for one or two years but then decreases rapidly (Hannaway 2004). A problem for cranberry growers and will invade the beds (Roper 2003). Most likely invades naturally occuring cranberry beds growing taller than some cranberries.

3. Impact on Ecological Community Composition:High/Moderate significance
Comments: Since it is a nitrogen fixer, it will alter the community composition where there was no nitrogen fixer before. May cause a build up of soil in areas where it previously washed away because it is often planted to prevent soil erosion. Can tolerate flooding up to 20 days which is longer than some species (Hannaway 2004).

4. Impact on Individual Native Plant or Animal Species:Insignificant
Comments: No reports found of this species having disproportionate impacts.

5. Conservation Significance of the Communities and Native Species Threatened:Low significance
Comments: Causes problems for the plant species Lesquerella globosa (considered G2 by NatureServe and a Candidate species by the F&WS as of 8/2004) by invading areas where this species occurs (FWS 2003).

Subrank II. Current Distribution and Abundance: Medium

6. Current Range Size in Nation:High significance
Comments: Found primarily in the upper mid-west and northeast; spotty throughout the rest of the U.S. but reported from all states except Texas (Kartesz 1999).

7. Proportion of Current Range Where the Species is Negatively Impacting Biodiversity:Insignificant
Comments: Is best adapted to the New England climate (USDA-NRCS 2002) but appears to only be causing problems in cranberry bogs and with Lesquerella globosa.

8. Proportion of Nation's Biogeographic Units Invaded:High/Moderate significance
Comments: Using the county maps for 25 states in the Plants Database, there are an estimated 33 ecoregions occupied just within those 25 states. This species occures all across the U.S. but is spotty outside the upper mid-west and northeast (Kartesz 1999, USDA Plants Database 2004 and TNC Ecoregions Map 2001).

9. Diversity of Habitats or Ecological Systems Invaded in Nation:High significance
Comments: Fields and roadsides (Weakley 2004). Oak savanna and woodland edge (Wisconsin State Herbarium 2004). Also rocky slopes/ledges near rivers or streams (USFWS 2003). Can be used to stabilize disturbed and eroding land which includes roadsides and mine spoils (Hannaway 2004). Cranberry beds (Roper 2003).

Subrank III. Trend in Distribution and Abundance: Medium/Low

10. Current Trend in Total Range within Nation:Moderate significance
Comments: Still planted for forage and stabilization. Species was introduced long ago by early settlers and has been adapted to U.S. conditions using natural selection for characteristics. Work continues to enhance clovers (Taylor 1990). Currently seems to be limited by its inabililty to tolerate the extended heat in warmer climates and its requirement of adequate moisture (Snow Pond Farm Supply 1999).

11. Proportion of Potential Range Currently Occupied:Low significance
Comments: Currently seems to be limited by its inabililty to tolerate the extended heat in warmer climates and its requirement of adequate moisture (Snow Pond Farm Supply 1999). Range could expand if work to enhance the species continues and the species develops a tolerance for long periods of heat.

12. Long-distance Dispersal Potential within Nation:High significance
Comments: Still planted for forage and stabilization. Sold commercially. Used in pasture seed mixes.

13. Local Range Expansion or Change in Abundance:Not ranked

14. Inherent Ability to Invade Conservation Areas and Other Native Species Habitats:Low significance/Insignificant
Comments: The habitats it occupies all have some sort of disturbance.

15. Similar Habitats Invaded Elsewhere:High/Low significance
Comments: Occurs in Canada (Kartesz 1999).

16. Reproductive Characteristics:Low significance
Comments: Tolerates cold temperatures, frost heaving, flooding (up to 20 days) and a wider
range of pH than other legumes; self-incompatible, cross-pollinated species (Hannaway 2004). Seed abundance is high; does not spread vegetatively nor does it reproduce from cuttings; short lifespan as compared to other plants but a rapid growth rate (USDA Plants Database 2004). Seeds can persist for up to 6 years in ideal conditions (Snow Pond Farm Supply 1999).


Subrank IV. General Management Difficulty: Medium/Low

17. General Management Difficulty:High/Moderate significance
Comments: Mowing below 2 inches will damage the species (USDA-NRCS 2002). "Short life limits it usefulness to the first few years of production" (Hannaway 2004). No mention in the literature searches of this species being managed in native species habitat. Apparently being controlled by commercial cranberry growers with spot spraying (Roper 2003). If it does invade naturally occuring cranberry beds, then control would be necessary. Control is needed where this species occurs with the rare Lesquerella globosa.

18. Minimum Time Commitment:Medium/Low significance
Comments: Seeds can persist for up to 6 years in ideal conditions (Snow Pond Farm Supply 1999).

19. Impacts of Management on Native Species:Low significance/Insignificant
Comments: Mowing could damage native species as well as spraying unless both done carefully such as using a weedeater or spot spray to minimize impacts to native species.

20. Accessibility of Invaded Areas:Low significance/Insignificant
Comments: Accessing wet areas is a problem or rocky slopes. Most of the time this species is on disturbed areas that are easy to reach.

Other Considerations: "Can be toxic to horses under some conditions" (NRCS 2002). Important for honeybees for honey production and the honeybees provide much of the pollination (Hannaway 2004).
Authors/Contributors
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Botanical data developed by NatureServe and its network of natural heritage programs (see Local Programs), The North Carolina Botanical Garden, and other contributors and cooperators (see Sources).

References
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  • Hannaway, D., and C. Larson. 2004. Legume Species Fact Sheet, Alsike Clover (Trifolium hybridum L.). Forage Information System. Oregon State University. http://forages.oregonstate.edu/main.cfm?Pageid=330&specid=39 (Accessed 2004).

  • Kartesz, J.T. 1994. A synonymized checklist of the vascular flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland. 2nd edition. 2 vols. Timber Press, Portland, OR.

  • Kartesz, J.T. 1999. A synonymized checklist and atlas with biological attributes for the vascular flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland. First edition. In: Kartesz, J.T., and C.A. Meacham. Synthesis of the North American Flora, Version 1.0. North Carolina Botanical Garden, Chapel Hill, N.C.

  • Meades, S.J. & Hay, S.G; Brouillet, L. 2000. Annotated Checklist of Vascular Plants of Newfoundland and Labrador. Memorial University Botanical Gardens, St John's NF. 237pp.

  • Roper, T. 2003. Clover in Cranberry Beds. Cranberry Crop Management Newsletter. Department of Horticulture. University of Wisconsin-Madison. http://www.hort.wisc.edu/cran/Newsletter/2003%20Newsletter/Nov5.htm

  • Snow Pond Farm Supply. 1999. Leguminous Seed. Alsike Clover. 699 Adams Street, Abington, MA 02351. http://www.snow-pond.com/soilseed/legume.html (accessed 2004).

  • Taylor, N.L. 1990. The True Clovers. Advances in new crops. Timber Press, Portland, OR. p. 177-182. http://www.hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/proceedings1990/v1-177.html (accessed online 2004).

  • The Nature Conservancy. 2001. Map: TNC Ecoregions of the United States. Modification of Bailey Ecoregions. Online . Accessed May 2003.

  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). 2003. Candidate Assessment and Listing Priority Assignment Form for Lesquerella globosa. USFWS.

  • USDA - NRCS Plants Materials Program. February 2002. Plant Fact Sheet. Alsike Clover, Trifolium hybridum L. http://plants.usda.gov/factsheet/pdf/fs_trhy.pdf (Accessed 2004).

  • USDA, NRCS. 2004. The PLANTS Database, Version 3.5 (http://plants.usda.gov) . National Plant Data Center, Baton Rouge, LA 70874-4490 USA.

  • Weakley, A. S. 2004. Flora of the Carolinas, Virginia, and Georgia. Draft as of March 2004. UNC Herbarium, North Carolina Botanical Garden, Chapel Hill. Available online: http://www.herbarium.unc.edu/flora.htm. Accessed 2004.

  • Wisconsin State Herbarium. 2004, January 20, 2004 last update. Wisconsin state herbarium vascular plant species database. Available: http://www.botany.wisc.edu/wisflora/. (Accessed 2004).

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