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322 East Front Street
Boise, ID, 83702
United States


Providing the knowledge and technology required to improve the availability of native plant materials for restoring diverse native plant communities across the Great Basin.

2015 Plant Materials & Cultural Practices



Characterizing Germplasm Relationships and Maximizing Seedling Establishment of Utah Trefoil (Lotus utahensis Ottley)
Shaun Bushman and Douglas Johnson

We propose to conduct three phases of research to move Utah trefoil to germplasm release and use on rangeland sites: 

  1. Characterize gene-flow and population patterns: Genetic diversity and phenotypic diversity of out-crossing species can vary across landscapes.  Some groups of collections are hyper-variable with no obvious geographic barriers between them.  Others, surprisingly, show substantial differences to other collections for adaptive traits and molecular relationships.  This objective aims to characterize the type of differences and the extent of differences among collections, and correlate those differences to collection site environments.  We will use AFLP markers as quick, efficient, and robust DNA markers to assess collection relationships and gene flow.  We will use multivariate analyses of collection-site environmental data, molecular marker data, and common-garden measures to create appropriate germplasm release strategies.  
  2. Determine the best seed treatments to maximize germination: Hard seededness is a common feature in legume species, which limits initial, uniform germination and subsequent establishment.  Based on germplasm selected in Objective 1, the effects of various seed treatments (scarifications, boiling water treatment, and control) and age of seed (newly harvested or one-year-old seed) will be investigated for Utah trefoil.  All combinations of these treatments will be tested in a greenhouse to determine which combination of treatments yields the best germination and seedling establishment. 
  3. Identify planting depths and seasons that will give the best success: Given the data obtained from Objective 2, the best treatment combination will be used in field evaluations.  Seeds from the most promising collections will be planted in replicated fall dormant and spring plantings at several locations.  First and second year establishment/survival will be recorded at each of the test sites to identify best seeding practices. 


  • Bring together common-garden, molecular marker, and environmental data of Utah trefoil collections to determine appropriate germplasm releases.
  • Determine seed treatments that maximize germination in Utah trefoil germplasm releases.
  • Identify planting depths and seasons that will give the best establishment of Utah trefoil.