Kentucky Nature Preserves Rare Plants

Kentucky State Nature Preserves Commission

Running Buffalo Clover
Trifolium stoloniferum
Family: Fabaceae

Protection Status:
State Status:  T
USFWS Status: LE

Global Rank: G3
State Rank: S2S3

Old trails, traces, and roads; grazed bottomlands, streambanks, lawns, shoals, and cemeteries with native vegetation, prairies, well-drained and mesic soils, and filtered to partial light.

Species Description:
A three-leaved, white-flowered clover confusingly similar to the familiar Dutch clover of suburban lawns.

Flowering Period: Early April to late August.

Additional Information at NatureServe

Diagnostic Characteristics:
Stoloniferous (stems producing runners) perennial that is essentially glabrous (without hairs). Flowering stem erect with a pair of leaves on the stem beneath the flowering head. Leaflets are broadly ovate. Stipules are green leafy in appearance (not whitish/clear) lanceolate to ovate. Corolla white.

Any activity that results in increased erosion or weed invasion would be detrimental. Running buffalo clover benefits from some light disturbance such as animal or other trails but excessive disturbance is detrimental. Likewise, some timber removal could be beneficial but the practice should consider the impacts to this species. Exotic pest plants are a threat.

Global Range:
Formerly West Virginia to Kansas. Currently extant in limited portions of Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, Missouri, and West Virginia, especially where underlain by limestones. In Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana, populations are centered around the limestone-underlain region near Cincinnati, and the Inner and Outer Bluegrass regions of northern Kentucky. Only one D-RANKED native population is known from Missouri. In West Virginia, most populations occur within Randolph, Pocahontas, and Barbour Counties, in a mountainous region of the east-central part of the state.

Known Kentucky Occurrences:

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Data last updated: Wednesday, May 28, 2014
Kentucky State Nature Preserves Commission
801 Teton Trail
Frankfort,KY 40601
Phone: (502) 573-2886
Fax: (502) 573-2355
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