Page authors: Don Knoke, David Giblin
Onobrychis viciifolia
holy-clover, saintfoin, sandfain

Distribution: Occurring east of the Cascades crest in Washington; Alaska to California, east to the Great Plains, also in eastern North America,

Habitat: Roadsides, fields, wastelots, and other disturbed areas.

Flowers: June-August

Origin: Introduced

Growth Duration: Perennial

Conservation Status: Not of concern


Herbaceous perennial, the stems 2-4 dm. tall.


Leaves odd-pinnate, leaflets 11-17, narrowly elliptic to oblanceolate, 1-2 cm. long, with a small, sharp point at the tip; stipules lanceolate, 5-12 mm. long, reddish-brown.


Inflorescence of spike-like racemes on long peduncles arising in the leaf axils, 10-50 flowered; calyx bell-shaped, the 5 teeth linear-lanceolate, equal, twice as long as the tube; corollas pea-like, 10-13 mm. long, pink to lavender, prominently lined with reddish-purple; wing petals less than half as long as the keel and banner; stamens 10, monodelphous, but the upper filament free at the base and the upper 1/3 of its length.


Pod ovate, 6-8 mm. long, 1-seeded, strongly pubescent and wrinkled.

Accepted Name:
Onobrychis viciifolia Scop.
Publication: Fl. Carniol. (ed. 2) 2: 76. 1772.

Synonyms & Misapplications:
Hedysarum onobrychis L.
Onobrychis sativa Lam.
Onobrychis viciaefolia Scop., orthographic variant [HC]
Additional Resources:

PNW Herbaria: Specimen records of Onobrychis viciifolia in the Consortium of Pacific Northwest Herbaria database.

WA Flora Checklist: Onobrychis viciifolia checklist entry.

E-Flora BC: Onobrychis viciifolia atlas page.

CalPhotos: Onobrychis viciifolia photos.

USDA Plants: Onobrychis viciifolia information.

11 photographs:
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