We compared the germination rates of running buffalo clover (Trifolium stoloniferum) seeds that had been passed through the digestive tract of a captive white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) with those that had not. We found no significant difference among germination rates of seeds passed through deer and those not, nor with seeds that were cold-stratified prior to planting and those that were not. Although white-tailed deer are viable vectors for running buffalo clover seed, our data suggest that the rates of ingested seed germination and survival are low. Dispersal and establishment of new populations by white-tailed deer herbivory may not contribute quickly or significantly to the recovery of running buffalo clover at present.
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Vol. 149 • No. 2