Comparison of drought resistance in strawberry clover and white clover


  • R.W. Hofmann
  • W. Lin
  • S.A. Stilwell
  • R.J. Lucas



This study set out to compare plant function and performance of strawberry clover to that of white clover. To test this, the two species were exposed to drought for 4 weeks under controlled environmental conditions. Water stress reduced the size and dry matter of white clover leaves by more than 50%, whereas strawberry clover leaves remained unaffected. White clover photosynthesis decreased by nearly 50% under drought, accompanied by a reduction in leaf water status (water potential) by more than one third. In contrast, strawberry clover maintained a higher water status, photosynthesis and transpiration rate under drought than white clover. In addition, we observed drought-induced reductions in white clover leaf quality, including lower nitrogen levels. We conclude that strawberry clover displays drought resistance in a number of key leaf parameters. The findings suggest value in testing strawberry clover as a complement or alternative to white clover in droughtprone pasture environments. Keywords: drought, strawberry clover, Trifolium fragiferum L., Trifolium repens L., white clover







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