Overview

Distribution

Range Description

This species is endemic to Europe, where it is known from mountain areas; the Apennines, Alps, the Massif Centrale in central France (the Auvergne and Cévennes), Pyrenees, Cordillera Cantábrica and Macizo Galaico-Leonés in Spain (Menendez Valderry 2009, Association Tela Botanica 2014). Recorded from Spain, Andorra, France, Italy, Austria and Switzerland (Polunin 1969, ILDIS 2010).
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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
This alpine clover is found in rocky meadows and grassland in mountains, in the alpine and sub-alpine zone (sometimes below the tree line) and is common between 1,700 and 2,500 m. It is a perennial and has a large taproot. It has short stems which form dense tufts and fragrant pinkish red flowers. It is found on acid soils and is typical of poor alpine grassland and pastures containing Nardus stricta (Polunin 1969, FAO 2004).

Systems
  • Terrestrial
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Conservation

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
LC
Least Concern

Red List Criteria

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2014

Assessor/s
Chadburn, H.

Reviewer/s
Allen, D.J. & Leaman, D.J.

Contributor/s

Justification
The species is endemic to europe and has a relatively wide distribution in mountain areas in southwestern and western Europe. The estimated extent of occurrence (EOO) for this alpine clover exceeds the values needed for a threatened category. As it is a common species in grassland and rocky habitats over a range of altitudes, it is inferred that the area of occupancy and population also exceed these values. Although some of its habitat may have suffered from declines, in this common species these declines are not suspected to have led to population declines sufficient to trigger a threatened rating, and the species is therefore considered Least Concern.
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Population

Population
This species is noted to be a common component of mountain grasslands within its range, particularly at higher altitudes (FAO 2004), and it is inferred that the population is large. The number of traditionally managed alpine pastures is suspected to be declining (Dianese 2010) which is inferred to be leading to some declines in this species' population.

Population Trend
Decreasing
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Threats

Major Threats
The natural high altitude grassland habitat of this species has few major threats, however, pastures may be affected by management practices, for example, species composition may be altered by over-grazing or under-grazing. In the Italian Alps, for example, summer pastures are still managed in traditional ways, which maintains important grassland habitats for many species, although the number of pastures has declined over the past few decades (Dianese 2010). Also tourist developments in some areas may have local impacts as may collection for medicinal use. Future climate change may affect plant community composition at high altitude but the impacts on this species are not certain.
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Management

Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions
This species is known to occur in a Natura 2000 site in Foresta di Legnoli, Italy. It is found within other conservation areas such as Écrins national park in the French Alps (EOL 2012). It is recorded from 27 Botanic Gardens and seed is conserved ex situ in several institutions, for example the Millennium seedbank, Kew (BGCI 2013, ENSCO 2014).
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Wikipedia

Trifolium alpinum

Trifolium alpinum is a species of flowering plant in the legume family known by the common name alpine clover. It is native to the Alps.[1]

This plant is a perennial herb with a large taproot which can be 1 metre long and 1 centimetre wide. The short stems bear ternate leaves divided into three leaflets each up to 5 cm long. The fragrant flowers are pink to light red, tinged with purple.[1]

This plant grows at elevations between 1700 and 2500 m,[1] sometimes up to 2800 m,[2] in subalpine and alpine climates. It commonly grows on acidic soils.[1]

In alpine regions this plant provides an important forage for livestock.[3] It is also good for stabilizing sites of erosion at high elevations.[4]

References[edit]

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