Scientific name: Onobrychis viciifolia
Common names: Sainfoin, Holy clover
Seeding rate: 1.5 – 2.5 g/m² (15 – 25 kg/ha)
Growth cycle: Perennial
Growth season: Cool season
Sainfoin is a perennial temperate legume that is highly palatable and is promoted as an alternative to lucerne or clover species. It is a herbaceous plant with an erect to semi-erect growth form, 40 – 100 cm in height. It has hollow stems arising from a crown. Leaves are pinnate and flowers are pinkish-red and sometimes white. Pods are brown, kidney-shaped and contain a single dark olive, brown or black seed. It has a very deep taproot. Sainfoin originates from south-central Asia and is used as pasture, hay and silage. It combines well with temperate grasses (e.g., tall fescue and cocksfoot) and temperate legumes (such as birdsfoot trefoil). It is cold and frost tolerant. Under dryland conditions, a minimum of 350 mm rainfall is recommended, with supplementary irrigation when needed. Sainfoin is drought tolerant but not shade tolerant.