Sothis eastern star clover was collected on the Greek island of Naxos in 1995. It has been developed by the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development with the involvement of research officers Angelo Loi and Bradley Nutt and the pasture breeding team, as part of the National Annual Pasture Legume Improvement Program.
Description and area of use
Sothis is an early-mid maturing cultivar, flowering approximately 100 days from a mid-May sowing in Perth. Flowers are generally purple on the tip and whitish or pink at the base. Each seed is yellow in colour, slightly smaller than subterranean clover, with an approximate seed weight of 6mg. It is suited to Mediterranean climate regions with 325-450mm average annual rainfall and can be grown on mildly acidic to mildly alkaline sandy-loam and loamy soils (pH 5-8 CaCl2).
Forage production and seed yield
Field experimentation in Western Australia has shown herbage production in spring of ungrazed Sothis up to 5.6t/ha with seed yields from 300-650kg/ha. It has good forage quality, with dry matter digestibility of 65-70% and crude protein levels around 20% at the start of flowering. Agwest® Sothis grows rapidly in winter and can be moderately grazed during this time. Its upright habit makes it an ideal plant for mixtures with grasses that can be used later in the season for conserving silage or hay.