Running buffalo clover, a plant considered extinct for nearly half a century, now flourishing in Ohio

Representational imageCouleur

Historical records show that running buffalo clover was once abundant from the Appalachians to the Central Plains, but it rapidly disappeared due to the disappearance of bison from the plant's habitat as it depended on bison to disperse its seeds. Habitat loss and competition from invasive plants such as bluegrass and white clover also contributed to its decline. By the early 1980s, the plant was thought to be nearly extinct and was listed as a federally endangered species.

It was considered extirpated from Ohio until as recently as 1988 when the plant was rediscovered by ODNR. With decades of hard work and dedication, the plant has now recovered enough to be removed from the endangered species list. Botanists counted about 1,000 in 2010 but as of 2019, the number is nearly 7,000.

Mary Mertz, Director of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources said:

This is an exciting development in the area of conservation and is really something we can all celebrate.Now that this wildflower is thriving in Ohio, we will take every step to make sure it continues to bloom for years and years to come.The Division will continue monitoring populations around the state and manage populations on state owned lands to ensure success in the Buckeye State.

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