Possible Improvement In Clovers

Some close observers have noticed that there is much lack of uniformity in the plants found growing in an ordinary field of clover, especially of the medium red and mammoth varieties. Many of the plants vary in characteristics of stem, leaf, flower and seed;

in the size and vigor of the plants; in the rapidity with which they grow; and in earliness or lateness in maturing. So great are these differences that it may be said they run all the way from almost valueless to high excellence. Here, then, is a wide-open door of opportunity for improving clover plants through selection. This question has not been given that attention in the past which its importance demands. There may be a difference in view as to all the essential features of improvement that are to be sought for, but there will probably be agreement with reference to the following in desirable varieties: 1. They will have the power to grow quickly and continuously under average conditions. This power will render them valuable as pasture plants in proportion as they possess it. 2. They will produce many stems not too coarse in character. This will affect favorably the character of the hay and will also have a bearing on increase in the production of seed. 3. There should be an abundance of leaves. Such production will affect favorably palatability in the pasture and also in the hay. 4. The blossoms should be so short that the honey which they contain may be accessible to the ordinary honey bee. The importance of this characteristic cannot be easily overestimated. It would not only tend to a great increase in seed production through the favorable influence which it would have on fertilization, but it would greatly increase the honey harvest that would be gathered every year, and 5. They should be possessed of much vigor and hardihood; that is, they should have much power to grow under adverse conditions, as of drought and cold. The person who will furnish a variety of red clover possessed of these characteristics will confer a boon on American agriculture.

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