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Ball cotton clover (Trifolium pilulare)

Present distribution


Scientific name:

Trifolium pilulare Boiss.
Common name(s):

ball cotton clover
map showing the present distribution of trifolium pilulare
Map showing the present distribution of this weed.
Habitat:

T. pilulare occurs in fields, roadsides, grassy and rocky slopes (Zohary and Heller 1984). In western Asia, T. pilulare can be found on roadsides, in fields, grassy places, rocky places, lower mountain slopes and stony clay soils at elevations between sea level and 1450 m (Ecocrop 1993–2007).


Potential distribution

Potential distribution produced from CLIMATE modelling refined by applying suitable landuse and vegetation type overlays with CMA boundaries

Map Overlays Used

Land Use:
Forestry; horticulture perennial; pasture dryland; pasture irrigation

Ecological Vegetation Divisions
Lowland forest; foothills forest; forby forest; damp forest; high altitude shrubland/woodland; granitic hillslopes; rocky outcrop shrubland; riverine woodland/forest

Colours indicate possibility of Trifolium pilulare infesting these areas.

In the non-coloured areas the plant is unlikely to establish as the climate, soil or landuse is not presently suitable.
map showing the potential distribution of trifolium pilulare
Red= Very highOrange = Medium
Yellow = HighGreen = Likely

Impact

QUESTION
COMMENTS
RATING
CONFIDENCE
Social
1. Restrict human access?T. pilulare is an annual plant 10–50 cm; stems erect or ascending or prostrate, branching throughout (Zohary and Heller 1984). See photo with attached files.
An herbaceous annual legume; erect or decumbent with densely hairy stems branching from the base and reaching 6–25 cm in height (Ecocrop 1993–2007).
Minimal or negligible impact.
L
H
2. Reduce tourism?T. pilulare is an annual plant 10–50 cm; stems erect or ascending or prostrate, branching throughout (Zohary and Heller 1984). See photo with attached files.
An herbaceous annual legume; erect or decumbent with densely hairy stems branching from the base and reaching 6–25 cm in height (Ecocrop 1993–2007).
Weeds not obvious to the average visitor.
L
H
3. Injurious to people?T. pilulare is an annual plant 10–50 cm; stems erect or ascending or prostrate, branching throughout (Zohary and Heller 1984).
An herbaceous annual legume; erect or decumbent with densely hairy stems branching from the base and reaching 6–25 cm in height (Ecocrop 1993–2007).
No effect; no prickles; no injuries.
L
H
4. Damage to cultural sites?T. pilulare is an herbaceous annual legume plant 10–50 cm; stems erect or ascending or prostrate, branching throughout; it occurs in fields, roadsides, grassy and rocky slopes (Zohary and Heller 1984) as well as lower mountain slopes and stony clay soils at elevations between sea level and 1450 m. (Ecocrop 1993–2007).
Little or negligible effect on aesthetics or structure of site.
L
H
Abiotic
5. Impact flow?T. pilulare occurs in fields, roadsides, grassy and rocky slopes (Zohary and Heller 1984).
In western Asia, T. pilulare can be found on roadsides, in fields, grassy places, rocky places, lower mountain slopes and stony clay soils at elevations between sea level and 1450 m. (Ecocrop 1993–2007).
T. pilulare is essentially a terrestrial species.
Little or negligible effect on water flow.
L
H
6. Impact water quality?T. pilulare occurs in fields, roadsides, grassy and rocky slopes (Zohary and Heller 1984).
In western Asia, T. pilulare can be found on roadsides, in fields, grassy places, rocky places, lower mountain slopes and stony clay soils at elevations between sea level and 1450 m. (Ecocrop 1993–2007).
T. pilulare is essentially a terrestrial species.
No noticeable effect on dissolved O2 or light.
L
H
7. Increase soil erosion?T. pilulare is an herbaceous annual legume plant (Ecocrop 1993–2007; Zohary and Heller 1984).
Moderate probability of large scale soil movement.
ML
M
8. Reduce biomass?T. pilulare is an herbaceous annual plant 10–50 cm; stems erect or ascending or prostrate, branching throughout (Zohary and Heller 1984). See photo with attached files.
By sowing indigenous legumes the legume seed banks increased markedly, and there was evidence that biomass was also increasing (Ghassali et al. 1998).
Biomass may increase.
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H
9. Change fire regime?Fire breaks were planted to clovers in order to contain fire when burning the adjacent native warm-season grasses (Harper 2009).
Small or negligible effect on fire risk.
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MH
Community Habitat
10. Impact on composition
(a) high value EVC
EVC = Semi-arid Woodland (V); CMA = Mallee; Bioregion = Robinvale Plains;
VH CLIMATE potential.
T. pilulare is an herbaceous annual plant 10–50 cm; stems erect or ascending or prostrate, branching throughout (Zohary and Heller 1984). See photo with attached files.
Very little displacement of any indigenous species. Sparse/ scattered infestations.
L
MH
(b) medium value EVCEVC = Shallow Sands Woodland (D/R); CMA =Wimmera; Bioregion =Lowan Mallee;
VH CLIMATE potential.
T. pilulare is an herbaceous annual plant 10–50 cm; stems erect or ascending or prostrate, branching throughout (Zohary and Heller 1984). See photo with attached files.
Very little displacement of any indigenous species. Sparse/ scattered infestations.
L
MH
(c) low value EVCEVC = Lowan Sands Mallee (LC); CMA = Mallee; Bioregion = Murray Mallee;
VH CLIMATE potential.
T. pilulare is an herbaceous annual plant 10–50 cm; stems erect or ascending or prostrate, branching throughout (Zohary and Heller 1984). See photo with attached files.
Very little displacement of any indigenous species. Sparse/ scattered infestations.
L
MH
11. Impact on structure?T. pilulare is an herbaceous annual plant 10–50 cm; stems erect or ascending or prostrate, branching throughout (Zohary and Heller 1984). See photo with attached files.
Minor or negligible effect on <20% of the floral strata present; usually affecting one stratum only.
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MH
12. Effect on threatened flora?Impact on threatened flora has not yet been determined.
MH
L
Fauna
13. Effect on threatened fauna?Impact on threatened fauna has not yet been determined.
MH
L
14. Effect on non-threatened fauna?Impact on non-threatened fauna has not yet been determined.
M
L
15. Benefits fauna?Trifolium pilulare is used as a pasture plant (Ecocrop 1993–2007).
T. pilulare has medium palatability to cattle, and very abundant in overgrazed pastures (Naveh 1982).
This plant is possibly palatable to beneficial fauna.
Provides some assistance in either food or shelter to desirable species.
MH
MH
16. Injurious to fauna?T. pilulare is an annual plant 10–50 cm; stems erect or ascending or prostrate, branching throughout (Zohary and Heller 1984). See photo with attached files.
Trifolium pilulare is an herbaceous annual legume; erect or decumbent with densely hairy stems branching from the base and reaching 6–25 cm in height; the plant is used as a pasture plant (Ecocrop 1993–2007).
T. pilulare has medium palatability to cattle (Naveh 1982).
No effect.
L
MH
Pest Animal
17. Food source to pests?Trifolium pilulare is used as a pasture plant (Ecocrop 1993–2007).
T. pilulare has medium palatability to cattle, and very abundant in overgrazed pastures (Naveh 1982).
This plant is possibly palatable to serious pest species.
Supplies food for serious pests, but at low levels, e.g. foliage.
MH
MH
18. Provides harbour?T. pilulare is an annual plant 10–50 cm; stems erect or ascending or prostrate, branching throughout (Zohary and Heller 1984). See photo with attached files.
An herbaceous annual legume; erect or decumbent with densely hairy stems branching from the base and reaching 6–25 cm in height (Ecocrop 1993–2007).
No harbour for pest spp.
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H
Agriculture
19. Impact yield?Trifolium pilulare is used as a pasture plant (Ecocrop 1993–2007).
T. pilulare has medium palatability to cattle, and very abundant in overgrazed pastures (Naveh 1982).
Little or negligible effect on quantity of yield.
L
MH
20. Impact quality?Seed contamination by annual Trifolium spp. with small seeds is implicated in the spread of Trifolium species in New Zealand (Gravuer et al. 2008).
Potentially a problem if seed contamination or crop purity is an issue.
Minor impact on quality of produce, e.g. <5% reduction.
ML
MH
21. Affect land value?Trifolium pilulare is used as a pasture plant (Ecocrop 1993–2007).
T. pilulare has medium palatability to cattle, and very abundant in overgrazed pastures (Naveh 1982).
T. pilulare can be found on roadsides, in fields, grassy and rocky slopes (Zohary and Heller 1984), and in western Asia it occurs in rocky places, lower mountain slopes and stony clay soils at elevations between sea level and 1450 m (Ecocrop 1993–2007).
Little or none.
L
MH
22. Change land use?Trifolium pilulare is used as a pasture plant (Ecocrop 1993–2007).
T. pilulare has medium palatability to cattle, and very abundant in overgrazed pastures (Naveh 1982).
T. pilulare can be found on roadsides, in fields, grassy and rocky slopes (Zohary and Heller 1984), and in western Asia it occurs in rocky places, lower mountain slopes and stony clay soils at elevations between sea level and 1450 m (Ecocrop 1993–2007).
Little or no change.
L
MH
23. Increase harvest costs?Seed contamination by annual Trifolium spp. with small seeds is implicated in the spread of Trifolium species in New Zealand (Gravuer et al. 2008).
Potentially a problem if seed contamination is an issue.
Minor increase in cost of harvesting, e.g. slightly more time or labour is required.
M
MH
24. Disease host/vector?Trifolium pilulare is associated with clover yellow mosaic virus and clover yellow vein potyvirus (CABI 2010).
Trifolium spp. are recorded as being host to several viruses (see Brunt et al. 2009; Ag Notes 2007).
Host to major and severe disease or pest of important agricultural produce.
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MH


Invasive

QUESTION
COMMENTS
RATING
CONFIDENCE
Establishment
1. Germination requirements?All five annual clovers tested [did not include T. pilulare] had a base temperature close to 0 C and the thermal time requirement did not exceed 30 C for germination with optimal temperature between 11.6 C and 13.8 C (Lonati et al. 2009).
Requires natural seasonal disturbances such as seasonal rainfall, spring/summer temperatures for germination.
MH
M
2. Establishment requirements?Trifolium pilulare is used as a pasture plant (Ecocrop 1993–2007).
T. pilulare can be found on roadsides, in fields, grassy and rocky slopes (Zohary and Heller 1984), and in western Asia it occurs in rocky places, lower mountain slopes and stony clay soils at elevations between sea level and 1450 m (Ecocrop 1993–2007).
Requires reasonably specific conditions to establish, e.g. open space or bare ground, with access to light and direct rainfall.
ML
MH
3. How much disturbance is required?T. pilulare can be found on roadsides, in fields, grassy and rocky slopes (Zohary and Heller 1984), and in western Asia it occurs in rocky places, lower mountain slopes and stony clay soils (Ecocrop 1993–2007).
T. pilulare is very abundant in overgrazed pastures (Naveh 1982).
Competition from grass often limits the establishment of legumes in pastures (Guretzky et al. 2004).
Establishes in highly disturbed natural ecosystems, e.g. roadsides, or in overgrazed pastures.
ML
MH
Growth/Competitive
4. Life form?T. pilulare is an annual plant 10–50 cm; stems erect or ascending or prostrate, branching throughout (Zohary and Heller 1984).
An herbaceous annual legume; erect or decumbent with densely hairy stems branching from the base and reaching 6–25 cm in height (Ecocrop 1993–2007).
Leguminous plant.
MH
H
5. Allelopathic properties?The present work with two clover species (Trifolium resupinatum and Trifolium alexandrium) revealed that these species imposed an allelopathic influence on weeds (Maighany et al. 2007).
No specific reference associating allelopathy with Trifolium pilulare was located.
L
L
6. Tolerates herb pressure?Heavy grazing depresses the abundance of most species except prostrate and small annuals such as T. pilulare (Noy-Meir 1990).
Many species of small annual legumes [e.g. T. pilulare] increased in cover with heavy grazing (Noy-Meir and Kaplan 2002).
In the heavily grazed pastures, two low, short-seasoned and low-palatable clovers (Trifolium pilulare and T. xerocephalum) contribute most of the production (Naveh and Whittaker 1979).
Consumed but recovers quickly; capable of flowering /seed production under moderate herbivory pressure.
MH
H
7. Normal growth rate?No specific reference associating growth rate with Trifolium pilulare was located.
Growth rate equal to the same life form.
M
L
8. Stress tolerance to frost, drought, w/logg, sal. etc?A number of annual species of Trifolium from the Mediterranean/Middle East region [e.g. T. pilulare, see Zohary and Heller 1984] are highly tolerant of waterlogging and mildly tolerant of salinity (Smyth Seeds 2010).
Fire breaks were planted to clovers in order to contain fire when burning the adjacent native warm-season grasses (Harper 2009).
Tolerant to at least two and susceptible to at least one.
ML
ML
Reproduction
9. Reproductive systemTrifolium pilulare produces relatively small seeds with a low germination fraction. They flower during April and have a prolonged period of seed production due to their indeterminate growth pattern, ending when the soil is dry (Aboling et al. 2008).
Many Trifolium species can reproduce vegetatively (Gravuer 2004).
Vegetative reproduction.
MH
M
10. Number of propagules produced?Trifolium spumosum averaged 231 seeds per inflorescence, T. pilulare produced only 1 seed per inflorescence, and most species produced 17–31 seeds per inflorescence (Norman et al. 2005).
For Trifolium pilulare; pod 1-seeded; fruiting head with 1–2 seed-bearing calyces and many sterile ones (Zohary and Heller 1984).
50–1,000.
ML
H
11. Propagule longevity?The less competitive short and prostrate species such as T. pilulare are maintained in the grassland through production of persistent seed banks (Aboling et al. 2008).
The seeds in many cases retain their vitality for a very long time, over 30–50 years in the case of various species of Trifolium (Ewart 1909).
Greater than 25% of seeds survive 5 years.
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MH
12. Reproductive period?Trifolium pilulare is an herbaceous annual legume (Zohary and Heller 1984; Ecocrop 1993–2007).
In Mediterranean grasslands Trifolium pilulare flowers during April and has a prolonged period of seed production due to its indeterminate growth pattern, ending when the soil is dry (Aboling et al. 2008).
Mature plant produces viable propagules for one year only.
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H
13. Time to reproductive maturity?Trifolium pilulare is an herbaceous annual legume (Zohary and Heller 1984; Ecocrop 1993–2007).
Reaches maturity and produces viable propagules in under a year.
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H
Dispersal
14. Number of mechanisms?Telechory (long distance dispersal by wind and animals) is the common mode of dispersal in the genus Trifolium. The wooly heads of species such as T. pilulare are readily carried by animals (Zohary and Heller 1984).
The results suggest that using sheep is a cheap and practical way of dispersing the seeds of pasture legumes, especially the small-seeded clovers, and thereby improving the degraded grasslands of North Syria (Ghassali et al. 1998).
Very light, wind dispersed seeds or has edible fruit that is readily eaten by highly mobile animals.
H
H
15. How far do they disperse?Telechory (long distance dispersal by wind and animals) is the common mode of dispersal in the genus Trifolium. The wooly heads of species such as T. pilulare are readily carried by animals (Zohary and Heller 1984).
The results suggest that using sheep is a cheap and practical way of dispersing the seeds of pasture legumes, especially the small-seeded clovers, and thereby improving the degraded grasslands of North Syria (Ghassali et al. 1998).
Very likely that at least one propagule will disperse greater than one kilometre.
H
H


References

Aboling S, M. Sternberg SM, Perevolotsky A and Kige J. (2008) Effects of cattle grazing timing and intensity on soil seed banks and regeneration strategies in a Mediterranean grassland. Community Ecology 9 (Suppl.): 97–106. Available at http://www.tau.ac.il/lifesci/departments/plant_s/members/sternberg/Aboling2008.pdf (verified 15 June 2010).

Ag Notes (2007) Agricultural Notes, Organic Farming: Which green manure should I grow. AG1122. Available at http://www.dpi.vic.gov.au/dpi/nreninf.nsf/v/BE104BE59C14418DCA25740F007817B4/$file/Organic_Farming_Which_Green_Manure_Should_I_Grow.pdf (verified 18 June 2010).

Brunt AA, Crabtree K, Dallwitz MJ, Gibbs AJ, Watson L and Zurcher EJ. (Eds.) (2009). Plant Viruses Online: Descriptions and Lists from the VIDE Database. Version: 20th August 1996. Available at http://biology.anu.edu.au/Groups/MES/vide/ (verified 18 June 2010).

CABI (2010) CABI Alphabetical Thesaurus – T. Available at http://library.vetmed.fuberlin.de/cab/t.htm?comm=portal&template=%2Fcontent%2Ftemplates%2Fut%2Fut_template_inside_cm.htm&token=001360C77D251B0C312BA02D5EEEA9&template=%2Fcontent%2Ftemplates%2Fut%2Fut_template_inside_cm.htm (verified 18 June 2010).

Ecocrop (1993–2007) Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO). Ecocrop. Data sheet for Trifolium pilulare. Available at
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/cropView?id=10539 (verified 15 June 2010).

Ewart A.J (1909) The Weeds, Poison Plants and Naturalized Aliens of Victoria. Government Printer, Melbourne.

Ghassali F, Osman AE and P. S. Cocks PS. (1998) Rehabilitation of degraded grasslands in North Syria: the use of Awassi sheep to disperse the seeds of annual pasture legumes. Experimental Agriculture 34: 391–405. Available at http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayFulltext?type=1&fid=69183&jid=EAG&volumeId=34&issueId=04&aid=69182 (verified 17 June 2010).

Gravuer K. (2004) Determinants of the introduction, naturalisation, and spread of Trifolium species in New Zealand. Master of Science Thesis, Lincoln University, New Zealand. Available at http://researcharchive.lincoln.ac.nz/dspace/bitstream/10182/340/1/gravuer_msc.pdf (verified 17 June 2010).

Gravuer K, Sullivan JJ, Williams PA and Duncan RP. (2008) Strong human association with plant invasion success for Trifolium introductions to New Zealand. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 105(17): 6344–6349. Available at http://www.pnas.org/content/105/17/6344.full (verified 18 June 2010).

Guretzky JA, Moore KJ, Knapp AD, and Brummer EC. (2004) Emergence and Survival of Legumes Seeded into Pastures Varying in Landscape Position. Crop Science 44: 227–23. Available at http://crop.scijournals.org/cgi/reprint/44/1/227 (verified 15 June 2010).

Harper CA. (2009) Growing and Managing Successful Food Plots for Wildlife in the Mid-South. University of Tennessee. Available at
http://www.utextension.utk.edu/publications/pbfiles/pb1743.pdf (verified 18 June 2010).

Lonati ME, Moot DJ, Aceto P, Cavallero A and Lucas RJ. (2009) Thermal time requirements for germination, emergence and seedling development of adventive legume and grass species. New Zealand Journal of Agricultural Research 52: 17–29.

Maighany F, Khalghani J, Baghestani MA and Najafpour M. (2007) Allelopathic potential of Trifolium resupinatum L. (Persian clover) and Trifolium alexandrium L. (Berseem clover) Weed Biology and Management 7: 178–183. Available at http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/cgi-bin/fulltext/118490987/PDFSTART (verified 17 June 2010).

Naveh Z. (1982) The dependence of the productivity of a semi-arid Mediterranean hill pasture ecosystem on climatic fluctuations. Agriculture and Environment 7: 47–61. Available at http://www.sciencedirect.com/science?_ob=MImg&_imagekey=B75C8-4903GGN-2B-1&_cdi=13004&_user=141304&_pii=0304113187900063&_orig=search&_coverDate=03%2F31%2F1982&_sk=999929998&view=c&wchp=dGLbVtbzSkWb&md5=2c3669e881b68f63defc4652563e7357&ie=/sdarticle.pdf (verified 15 June 2010).

Naveh Z and Whittaker RH. (1979) Structural and floristic diversity of shrublands and woodlands in northern Israel and other Mediterranean areas. Vegetatio 41(3): 171–190. Available at http://web.mac.com/redifiori/Russell_Di_Fiori/California_transect_project_files/Israel%20scublands.pdf (verified 18 June 2010).

Norman HC, Cocks PS, Galwey NW. (2005) Annual clovers (Trifolium spp.) have different reproductive strategies to achieve persistence in Mediterranean-type climates. Australian Journal of Agricultural Research 56: 33–43. Available at http://www.publish.csiro.au/view/journals/dsp_journal_fulltext.cfm?nid=40&f=AR03236#R24 (verified 15 June 2010).

Noy-Meir I. (1990) The Effect of Grazing on the Abundance of Wild Wheat, Barley and Oat in Israel. Biological Conservation. 51: 299–310.

Noy-Meir I and Kaplan D. (2002) Species Richness of Annual Legumes in Relation to Grazing in Mediterranean Vegetation in Northern Israel. Israel Journal of Plant Sciences. 50 (Supplement): S95–S 109.

Smyth Seeds (2010) Various Trifolium spp. plant profiles. Available at http://www.smythseeds.com.au/?file=pasture_seeds&smid=42 (verified 17 June 2010).

Zohary M. and Heller D. (1984) The Genus Trifolium. Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities, Jerusalem.


Global present distribution data references

Australian National Herbarium (ANH) (2010) Australia’s Virtual Herbarium, Australian National Herbarium, Centre for Plant Diversity and Research, Available at http://www.anbg.gov.au/avh/ (verified 26 May 2010).

Department of the Environment and Heritage (Commonwealth of Australia). (1993 – On-going) Australian Plant Name Index (APNI). Available at
http://www.cpbr.gov.au/apni/index.html (verified 26 May 2010).

Calflora: Information on California plants for education, research and conservation. [web application]. (2010) Berkeley, California: The Calflora Database [a non-profit organization]. Available at http://www.calflora.org/ (verified 26 May 2010).

Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF). (2010) Global biodiversity information facility. Available at http://www.gbif.org/ (verified 26 May 2010).

Missouri Botanical Gardens (MBG). (2010) w3TROPICOS, Missouri Botanical Gardens Database. Available at http://mobot.mobot.org/W3T/Search/vast.html (verified 26 May 2010).

Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne. (2007) Census of Vascular Plants of Victoria. Available at http://www.rbg.vic.gov.au/research_and_conservation/plant_information/viclist (verified 26 May 2010).

United States Department of Agriculture. Agricultural Research Service, National Genetic Resources Program. Germplasm Resources Information Network - (GRIN) [Online Database]. (2009) Taxonomy Query. Available at http://www.ars-grin.gov/cgi-bin/npgs/html/taxgenform.pl (verified 26 May 2010).


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