Illinois bundleflower (Desmanthus illinoensis (Michaux) MacMillan ex Robinson & Fern.) appears to have the greatest potential as a forage species among 15 species of native legumes (Fabaceae) evaluated for forage yield, quality, and seed production. It ranked among the top five for all agronomic characteristics measured. Hoary tick clover (Desmodium canescens (L.) DC.), panicled tick clover (Desmodium paniculatum (L.) DC.), and roundhead lespedeza (Lespedeza capitata Michaux), ranked among the top five for grams per plant of forage and seed. All of the native legumes contained greater concentrations of crude protein and lower concentrations of neutral detergent fiber than typically found in the native warm-season grasses commonly sown for pasture, suggesting that these native legumes should improve forage quality in mixed pastures. Only white prairie clover (Dalea candida Michaux ex Willd.), purple prairie clover (Dalea purpurea Vent.), and Illinois bundleflower had lower concentrations of acid detergent fiber than that typically found in native warm-season grasses.
Native Plants Journal – University of Wisconsin Press
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