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Old 10-15-2014, 04:05 PM   #1
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Default Prairie Bush Clover (Lespedeza leptostachya)

A threatened plant species with known populations in four states, mainly Iowa, then Illinois, Wisconsin and Minnesota.
What does this mean and what is being done?


USFWS: Prairie Bush Clover

USFWS: Prairie Bush Clover Fact Sheet

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Prairie bush clover was listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act in February 1987. The Endangered Species Act prohibits the removal or destruction of prairie bush clover on Federal lands or in knowing violation of any state law protecting the species.
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In addition to its Federal status, prairie bush clover is listed as endangered or threatened in each of the four states where it occurs.

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Approximately 40 percent of the known prairie bush clover sites are protected as dedicated state nature preserves, scientific and natural areas and preserves managed by private conservation organizations such as The Nature Conservancy.
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Listen to a podcast!

Phil Delphey, biologist in the Twin Cities Field Office talks about the status, management and importance of this prairie plant.

Audio Clip
Attached Thumbnails
Prairie Bush Clover (Lespedeza leptostachya)-prairiebushcloverbyusfwsphildelphey.jpg  
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Old 10-15-2014, 09:15 PM   #2
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Lespedeza leptostachya (prairie bush clover) | Chicago Botanic Garden

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Since 2000, we have been monitoring populations of this federally threatened gravel hill prairie species at Nachusa Grasslands in Franklin Grove, Illinois, and at Harlem Hills Nature Preserve (part of Rock Cut State Park in Rockford, Illinois) to determine best management practices.

In 2014, the stewards at Nachusa Grasslands will begin to introduce bison to the site, and we will be studying the response. Bison, which are naturally adapted to Midwest weather and vegetation, will help to save the tiny plant.

The bison in Pati Vitt's area of study will be introduced in 2015. Bison increase the spatial heterogeneity of the landscape by grazing and other activities, opening up potential habitat for prairie bush clover.

We will be using remote sensing techniques to capture this landscape-scale phenomenon and integrate the findings with our ongoing population studies (Vitt, Havens-Young, and outside collaborators).
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Old 10-16-2014, 09:59 AM   #3
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That is interesting about the Bison. I love clover flowers. I only have non native volunteers on my property. I need to put native clover on my wish list.
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Old 10-16-2014, 10:03 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by EllenW View Post
That is interesting about the Bison. I love clover flowers. I only have non native volunteers on my property. I need to put native clover on my wish list.
I added some Purple Prairie Clover last year. It may or may not have ever been found in the wild here in MI. It's not found now. It is so pretty and the bees LOVE it.
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Old 10-16-2014, 10:17 AM   #5
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Ellen, the bison just arrived about a week ago. They will slowly be acclimated before full release. Thee bison will live wild except for the fences stopping them from leaving the prairie preserve. A first hand look at the actual results of bison presence on tallgrass prairie will take place over the next several years. If the herd successfully reproduces to capacity the extras will be moved to other prairie sites. The gene pool will be circulated.
katjh, I have tried several times to grow purple prairie clover but it gets eaten to the ground repeatedly until it gives up. I think it is such a pretty plant but it just can not get a start here. Even with the local coyotes keeping the rabbit population lower than normal the ppc gets decimated.
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Old 10-16-2014, 11:06 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Gloria View Post
Ellen, the bison just arrived about a week ago. They will slowly be acclimated before full release. Thee bison will live wild except for the fences stopping them from leaving the prairie preserve. A first hand look at the actual results of bison presence on tallgrass prairie will take place over the next several years. If the herd successfully reproduces to capacity the extras will be moved to other prairie sites. The gene pool will be circulated.
katjh, I have tried several times to grow purple prairie clover but it gets eaten to the ground repeatedly until it gives up. I think it is such a pretty plant but it just can not get a start here. Even with the local coyotes keeping the rabbit population lower than normal the ppc gets decimated.
So cool to see the bison being returned to IL! I hope all goes well. We travel to Yellowstone quite often and the bison are one of my favorite critters to observe.

I thought my Purple Prairie Clover was a goner last summer. I planted it in the spring and it was chewed right down by the bunnies here. They must have left enough of it, though, because it came back this spring! The plants in the back yard didn't fare as well. They were chewed, too, and tried to come back in the spring. I got a "sprig" or two from a couple of them, so I marked where they are and I'll see what next year brings. Funny, but the bunnies haven't chewed it this year. Maybe they don't like the more mature plants?
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Old 10-16-2014, 06:30 PM   #7
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This summer, I think I found some Lespedeza virginica (Slender Bush Clover). I was very excited by the find--I'd never seen these growing in the wild before--just in the pictures of a field guide.
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