Document Type

Article

Publication Version

Version of Record

Publication Date

6-2019

Abstract

Alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.) is an important forage and conservation crop in North America but occurrences of naturalized alfalfa in rangelands are rare. A naturalized population of yellow-flowered alfalfa in mixed-grass prairie on the Grand River National Grassland in South Dakota has potential agricultural value for the region. Despite this value, the distribution pattern of this alfalfa among and within native plant communities in the northern Great Plains is unknown. Field studies were conducted from 2003 through 2006 along topographic positions at two sites where yellow-flowered alfalfa was naturalized to evaluate the relationships of yellow-flowered alfalfa on biomass production, cover, species diversity, and alfalfa seedbank distribution characteristics. High yellow-flowered alfalfa cover (>50%) was associated with increased total biomass and occurred exclusively in swales and toeslopes that had silty loam soils. However, species diversity and non-alfalfa biomass were reduced when yellow-flowered alfalfa cover was high. Yellow-flowered alfalfa cover was lower and species richness was higher on backslopes and shoulder areas where sandy loam soils were present. A strong positive linear association existed between yellow-flowered alfalfa cover and alfalfa seedbank density (r values ranged from 0.76 to 0.82, P < 0.0001). Greater than 99% of the seeds were viable but germination rate was only 4%, indicating a high percentage of hard seed in this alfalfa population. Naturalized yellow-flowered alfalfa was a dominant component of a stable, low diversity plant community composed of mainly introduced species in rich soils of swales/toeslopes that contributed to forage production and quality in mixed-grass prairie in the northern Great Plains.

Publication Title

American Journal of Plant Sciences

Volume

10

Issue

6

First Page

1030

Last Page

1047

Format

application/pdf

Language

en

DOI of Published Version

10.4236/ajps.2019.106075

Publisher

Scientific Research Publishing

Rights

Copyright © 2019 by author(s) and Scientific Research Publishing

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Comments

This article was published in (2019). American Journal of Plant Sciences, 10, 1030-1047.

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