SAINFOIN

Onobrychis viciifolia

Pea Family [Fabaceae]

month8jun month8june month8jul month8july month8aug

status
statusZnative
flower
flower8pink
inner
inner8purple
inner
inner8white
morph
morph8zygo
petals
petalsZ5
type
typeZspiked
stem
stem8round
stem
stem8ribbed
rarity
rarityZuncommon

6th June 2012, a roadside, The Pyrenees. Photo: © Hester Coley
Conspicuous spikes of pink flowers.


6th June 2012, a roadside, The Pyrenees. Photo: © Hester Coley
There are two forms Sainfoin takes; a procumbent form thought to be native and an upright form mostly previously used as a fodder crop. This is the upright form.


22nd May 2004, a graveyard, Mountjoy, Launceston, Cornwall. Photo: (CC by 2.0) Keith Marston
The spikes of flowers often are thickest in the middle where the flowers are fully open. They are yet to open at the narrower top and are starting to turn to fruit at the narrowing bottom.


22nd May 2004, a graveyard, Mountjoy, Launceston, Cornwall. Photo: (CC by 2.0) Keith Marston
Mixed in with Yellow Rattle (which is also found in pastures) and Salad Burnet which loves limestone areas.


22nd May 2004, a graveyard, Mountjoy, Launceston, Cornwall. Photo: (CC by 2.0) Keith Marston
The flowers adopt the typical peaflower-shape. Leaves are pinnate with narrow leaflets.


26th Aug 2007, Bowcombe, Newport, IoW Photo: (CC by 2.0) Geoff Toone
The flowers at the top have yet to open; those in the middle are open, whilst those at the bottom are beginning to turn to fruit.


26th Aug 2007, Bowcombe, Newport, IoW Photo: (CC by 2.0) Geoff Toone
The sepal tube has long narrow teeth. As-yet unopened flowers are a slightly asymmetric screwdriver-blade in shape and coloured pink with deeper magenta parallel veins. The petioles (flower stalks) are and are accompanied by a short papery stipule (bottom right).


26th Aug 2007, Bowcombe, Newport, IoW Photo: (CC by 2.0) Geoff Toone
When open, both the large single banner and the pairs of keels and wings are similarly coloured (including the stripes). The flowers are 10-14mm long but the wings are very short - less than half the length of the other petals. Centre right shows a tight bunch of up-turned filaments topped by small yellow anthers.


26th Aug 2007, Bowcombe, Newport, IoW Photo: (CC by 2.0) Geoff Toone
The stem is round, ribbed and hairy as are the sepal tubes. there are some hairs also on the banner (centre).


26th Aug 2007, Bowcombe, Newport, IoW Photo: (CC by 2.0) Geoff Toone
Spent flower turn fawn-coloured and a green part of the flower is bent in a right-angle. Stem ribs apparent.


26th Aug 2007, Bowcombe, Newport, IoW Photo: (CC by 2.0) Geoff Toone
The leaves are pinnate with between 6 and 14 pairs of leaflets plus a single terminal leaflet. All leaflets are narrow and between 10-35mm long with a point at the tip. There are no tendrils on the leaves.

This is probably the prostrate form, thought to be native.


Uniquely identifiable characteristics

Distinguishing Feature : The spike (usually thickest in the middle) of pink pea-type flowers which have darker stripes.

Other pea-type flowers with spikes of flowers include those of:

  • Lupin such as Russel Lupin (Lupinus × regalis) (usually pyramidal in shape, rather than thickest in the middle)
  • Crimson Clover (Trifolium incarnatum ssp. incarnatum) (which has a thick and densely-packed spike of crimson-red coloured flowers)
  • Goat's-Rue (Galega officinalis) (which are usually smaller flowers and lilac/white)
  • Melilots such as White Melilot (Melilotus alba) (which are usually very long and narrow spikes)
  • Tufted Vetch (Vicia cracca) with deep-blue to purple spikes which again are long and narrow.
[The 'spikes' of Laburnums and Wisterias are dangling 'catkins']


  Onobrychis viciifolia  ⇐ Global Aspect ⇒ Fabaceae  

Distribution
 family8Pea family8Fabaceae

 BSBI maps
genus8Onobrychis
Onobrychis
(Sainfoin)

SAINFOIN

Onobrychis viciifolia

Pea Family [Fabaceae]