Influence of flowering red clover on flower visitation in a sweet corn agroecosystem




Agricultural intensification and the conversion of natural landscapes into annual cropping systems have contributed to declines in pollinator abundance and biodiversity. Increasing the abundance of flowering plants within crop fields is an often-overlooked practice that may be used to help sustain and enhance pollinator populations. In this study, the influence of red clover (Trifolium pratense) used as an interplanted living mulch on pollinator richness and visitation rates was evaluated and compared with monoculture sweet corn habitats. Treatments included sweet corn interplanted with red clover or monoculture with or without cover crop residue. Weekly visual observations of foraging floral visitors revealed that multiple species of bumblebees and butterflies, as well as honeybees frequently visited red clover flowers. Observations of visitors foraging on sweet corn tassels during pollen shed revealed distinct insect communities were attracted by sweet corn and red clover plants. Findings provided evidence that the inclusion of red clover in crop fields can increase the diversity and abundance of bees and butterflies on arable lands by serving as an important food source.


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How to Cite

Yurchak, V., Espindola, A., & Hooks, C. (2024). Influence of flowering red clover on flower visitation in a sweet corn agroecosystem. Journal of Pollination Ecology, 35, 61–72.



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