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Learn more about Running Buffalo Clover in the 5-Year Review.

The Running Buffalo Clover Recovery Plan was completed in 2007.

Photo by USFWS; Sarena Selbo

Running Buffalo Clover (Trifolium stoloniferum)
Status: Endangered
Listed: July 6, 1987

For more information on Running Buffalo Clover, contact Rebecca Peak at rebecca_peak@fws.gov or 501-513-4475

Species Information:
Running buffalo clover is a perennial plant with leaves divided into three leaflets. It produces runners (stolons) that extend from the base of the plant and run along the ground. Nodes along these runners can root and expand the plant into large clumps.

The flower heads are small (about 1" wide), white, and grow above the plant on 2- to 8-inch stems. Each flowering stem has two large opposing leaves below the flower head. Running buffalo clover flowers late spring to early summer.

Habitat Summary:
Running buffalo clover is usually found in somewhat moist habitats with filtered sunlight and a pattern of moderate or periodic disturbance (grazing, mowing, trampling, flood scouring, etc.). It cannot tolerate full sun, full shade, or severe or prolonged disturbance.

Historically, running buffalo clover was found in the rich soils in the margin habitat between open forests and prairie. Currently, the species is found in partially shaded woodlots, intermittently mowed areas such as parks and cemetaries, and along streams and trails.

Why is it Endangered?
Running buffalo clover was most likely dependent on bison to create habitat through periodic disturbance. As buffalo were eliminated from the landscape, this habitat was lost.

Other major threats include non-nonative invasive species that compete with running buffalo clover and habitat destruction or modification.

A recovery plan for the species was completed in 2007. On the ground recovery efforts are also taking place on private and public land in other states. These efforts include non-native invasive species treatments, reducing intense disturbance by closing ATV trails, and survey efforts to montor existing populations and discover new populations.

Range in Arkansas:
Although Arkansas was within the historic range of the species, there are presently no known existing running buffalo clover in Arkansas. Currently, known populations exist in Missouri, Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky, and West Virginia.


Arkansas Field Office
110 S. Amity Road
Suite 300
Conway, AR 72032

501/513 4470 (v)
501/513 4480 (f)

Last Updated: December 30, 2015

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