Arrowleaf Clover (Trifolium vesiculosum Savi): A New Species of Annual Legumes for High Rainfall Areas of the Mediterranean Climate Zone of Chile

Carlos Ovalle M.1*, Alejandro del Pozo2, Fernando Fernández3, Jorge Chavarría1, and Susana Arredondo1

The present review examines the main attributes and agronomic characteristics of arrowleaf clover (Trifolium vesiculosum Savi) and its incorporation into production systems in dryland areas of the Andean foothills of the humid Mediterranean climate zone of Chile. It is a new species of annual legume in Chile for light and medium textured soils. The root system can reach a depth of 1.5 m and its seeds have a high percentage of hardseedness (99.8%). It is an upright plant, with purplish-white flowers. The mature plant has large arrow-shaped leaves up to 50 mm long, often marked with a large white “V”. Dry matter and seed production in the Andean foothills is high (3.9-8.8 t DM ha-1 and 700-900 kg ha-1, respectively), surpassing the productivity of sub clover (Trifolium subterraneum L.) cv. Mount Barker and crimson clover (Trifolium incarnatum L.). However, DM production in the second year was lower, possibly because the high percentage of hardseedness inhibited plant emergence. The phenological records and productive performance suggest that arrowleaf clover could contribute to improving pastoral production in dryland areas with annual rainfall levels of more than 800 mm, such as the Andean foothills in the central-southern region of Chile.

Keywords: Trifolium vesiculosum, arrowleaf clover, annual legume pastures, dryland Andean foothills, Mediterranean pastures.
1Instituto de Investigaciones Agropecuarias INIA, Casilla 426, Chillán, Chile. *Corresponding author (covalle@inia.cl).
2Universidad de Talca, Facultad de Ciencias Agrarias, Casilla 747, Talca, Chile.
3Instituto de Investigaciones Agropecuarias INIA, Casilla 165, Cauquenes, Chile.