Sainfoin (Viciifolia) is generally described as
a perennial forb/herb.
not native to the U.S. (United States)
and has its most active growth period in the
spring and summer .
Sainfoin (Viciifolia) has
green foliage and
red flowers, with
an abuncance of
conspicuous brown fruits or seeds.
The greatest bloom is usually observed in the
with fruit and seed production starting in the
summer and continuing until
not retained year to year.
Sainfoin (Viciifolia) has a
moderate life span relative to most other plant species and a
moderate growth rate.
At maturity, the typical
Sainfoin (Viciifolia) will reach up to
2.5 feet high, with a maximum height at 20 years of
Sainfoin (Viciifolia) is easily found in nurseries, garden stores and other plant dealers and distributors. It can be propagated by
It has a
slow ability to spread through seed production and the seedlings have
Note that cold stratification is
not required for seed germination and the plant cannot survive exposure to temperatures below
medium tolerance to drought and restricted water conditions.
Uses of : Landscaping, Medicinal, Culinary, etc.
Sainfoin is nonbloating, and it is a preferred forage for cattle, sheep, deer and elk. They will concentrate their feeding on sainfoin even when other forages are readily available. Honey bees readily visit the pink flowers and sainfoin honey is of excellent quality. Sainfoin seed pods shatter in early fall and the nutritious seed is consumed by birds and rodents.
Sainfoin is an introduced perennial legume with many tall hollow stems, 60-80 cm or more. Its leaves are compound with 5-l4 pairs of oval-shaped leaflets and a single leaflet at the tip. Sainfoin has conelike clusters fragrant, pinkish- red flowers on the end of long stalks. Seed pods are flat and contain a single dark olive green, brown, or black seed, 4-6 mm. There are 18,000 seeds/pound
Required Growing Conditions
Sainfoin is adapted to areas of the inland Pacific Northwest that receive at least 12 inches of annual precipitation. It is also adapted to much of the Northern Rocky Mountains, Northern Great Plains, and Northern Great Basin. Sainfoin was introduced to North America from Eurasia. Sainfoin grows well on a variety of well-drained soils and performs better than alfalfa on cold soils.
For a current distribution map, please consult the Plant Profile page for this species on the PLANTS Website.PAAM2.FS (bitter panicgrass)
Cultivation and Care
Sainfoin seed is quite large but must not be seeded deeper than ¾ inch. The seed takes up moisture rapidly and germinates quickly. Seed must be inoculated with the appropriate rhizobium and planted into a firm, well-packed seedbed. Seed should be planted in the spring for best emergence.
General Upkeep and Control
It should not be planted next to shelterbelts because the trees and shrubs will suffer from indiscriminate browsing and other damage by deer and elk. Unconsumed seed will readily germinate on a moist soil surface so adequate residue should left on the field to maintain moist conditions at the soil surface and promote natural recruitment. Allowing the plants to periodically make seed will increase stand longevity.
Pests and Potential Problems Sainfoin is subject to crown rot and the stands may not persist more than 5-6 years in areas subject to heavy infection.
Cultivars, Improved, and Selected Materials (and area of origin) ‘Eski’ was developed for pasture usage and does not regrow well after the first clipping/grazing. ‘Melrose’ was developed in Canada and has better regrowth. ‘Remont’ is an older variety and has largely been replaced by ‘Melrose’.
Source: USDA, NRCS, PLANTS Database, plants.usda.gov.
National Plant Data Center, Baton Rouge, LA 70874-4490 USA