Sainfoin, Prairie

Botanical Name Onobrychis viciifolia
Life Cycle Perennial
Environment - Full Sun
Preferred Sites - Upland/Grassland
Bloom Period May-July
Flower Color Purple


Sainfoin is an introduced perennial forb that is distributed across much of the northern and western half of North America. A non-bloating legume known for its excellent forage and multi cut hay ability, sainfoin has high protein quality and is favored by many livestock over alfalfa. Wildlife actively consume its lush leaves and its flower produces large amounts of nectar making it attractive to pollinating species. The purple/pink flower is very conspicuous from May-July. A deep tap root allows sainfoin to be drought tolerant and with the proper rhizobia, it will fixate nitrogen into the soil. Seeding in the fall or spring at rates ranging from 25-35 pls per acre in a monoculture and 2-5 pls per acre in a mixture. Caution should be taken to not plant seed deeper that ¾” for good germination.


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