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Trifolium calcaricum (Running Glade Clover) Conservation

At the Cedars of Lebanon State Park, I met Andrea Bishop, a botanist from the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, and Margie Hunter, who is the Trifolium project coordinator for the Tennessee Plant Conservation Alliance. This project consisted of outplanting 103 potted cuttings of Trifolium calcaricum (Running Glade Clover) at separate sites around the Cedars of Lebanon State Forest. The Cedars of Lebanon State Forest is very important because it protects a substantial portion of the Cedar Glades of central Tennessee. A Cedar Glade is a habitat that occurs when limestone is at or near the surface and it is unique to the Central Eastern United States. The Glades are often treeless habitats and contain plants that have adapted to the specific micro-climate on the Glades. Trifolium calcaricum is one such plant that is found in Cedar Glades, however it is of great conservation concern because it is endangered in Tennessee and its Global Status is G1- Critically Imperiled. Also, as of the year 2006, none of the extant populations of Trifolium calcaricum were in protected areas.

Margie Hunter, therefore, set out to help protect Trifolium calcaricum. The project involved first collecting the Trifolium calcaricum, which Margie had done earlier this year. Then for the outplantings, Margie and Andrea Bishop set out to find a couple open glades within the Cedars of Lebanon State Park that preferably faced north or east and got a substantial amount of light. Then, we all went out to these glades, walked into the woods a bit and planted groupings of three Trifolium calcaricum within a small fence to protect the clovers from herbivores. After everything was planted, we tagged each plant, took measurements and took the coordinates of each site. All in all, the 103 cuttings were planted in four different locations, and we will continue to monitor the populations to see if our outplantings were successful.

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