Sainfoin (Fr., wholesome hay), a fodder plant (onobrychis sativa) of the order legumi-nosoe, growing spontaneously in the limestone districts of England, middle and southern Europe, and Asia. Its roots are perennial, and are capable of penetrating to a great depth; its stems recumbent or nearly upright, 2 or 3 ft. long; its smooth pinnate leaves consist of 9 to 15 opposite and acute leaflets; the flower stalks are axillary, longer than the leaves, terminated in July by spikes of pink flowers, which are followed by small, flat, hard, one-seeded pods, having raised veins and often prickly on the edges. The plant has been cultivated since very early times, its botanical name being the ancient Greek one. It was introduced into Great Britain about the middle of the 17th century, and is there a valuable crop on chalk lands, but on alluvial soil is inferior to lucern; it is cut and made into hay; too close pasturing kills the roots. Occasional experiments have been made with it in this country, but as it requires three or four years to become thoroughly established, it is not suited to our agriculture. (See Lucern).
Sainfoin (Onobrychis sativa).