Common sainfoin

Herbs profile

  • Latin Name: Onobrychis viciifolia
  • Onos: greek donkey
  • Brychein: greek devour
  • Viciifolia: leaves similar to a vetch
  • Family: Butterflyflowers/Fabaceae
  • Fodder type: Legumes
Common sainfoin - Onobrychis viciifolia

Common sainfoin (Onobrychis viciifolia)

Sainfoin is a plant species comprises 54 different species in the subfamily of the papilionaceous plants. It is mainly used as a dry food plant and as a soil improver.

The fodder saver is a perennial and persistent plant. It roots up to 4 m deep and can therefore survive even in very dry locations.

The leaves are pinnate with numerous leaflets. The pink flowers with purple veins are arranged in long stemmed grapes.

The butterfly flower, composed of flag, wing and boat, is optimally adapted to its visitors. The pollen is applied to the belly of the insect, which is attracted by the abundant nectar. The fodder saver is a good bee pasture.

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Occurrence of common sainfoin

The sainfoin can cope with dry soils just as well as with raw soils (e.g. on road embankments). Its symbiosis with nitrogen-binding bacteria in the root nodules helps it to colonise the soil. It is a very protein-rich dry food plant and has been cultivated as such since the 16th century. It originates from south-eastern Europe, but has now gone wild everywhere.

Effect of the sainfoin

The plants contain very many tannins (tannins), which have an anthelmintic and antiseptic effect. For this reason, the food saving chain is also called health hay.


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