American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. A Eurasian plant (Onobrychis viciifolia) having pinnately compound leaves and pink or white flowers, often grown as a forage crop.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. A perennial herb, Onobrychis sativa, native in temperate Europe and part of Asia, and widely cultivated in Europe as a forage-plant. It is suitable for pasturage, especially for sheep, and makes a good hay. It prefers light, dry, calcareous soils, and will thrive in places where clover fails. It has been introduced into the United States under the corrupt name asperset [F. esparcet, German esparsette]. Also cockshead, French grass, and hen's-bill.
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. Canada, Canada A leguminous plant (Onobrychis sativa) cultivated for fodder.
- n. Canada A kind of tick trefoil (Desmodium Canadense).
- n. Eurasian perennial herb having pale pink flowers and curved pods; naturalized in Britain and North America grasslands on calcareous soils; important forage crop and source of honey in Britain
- From French sainfoin. (Wiktionary)
- French, from Old French, from Medieval Latin sānum faenum : Latin sānum, neuter of sānus, healthy + Latin faenum, hay; see dhē(i)- in Indo-European roots. (American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
“A field with a standing crop of wheat had a wide wild-flower margin with ox-eye daisies, red clover, sainfoin, poppies and trefoils – to name a few – and I was disappointed not to see a single butterfly, perhaps because it was overcast.”
“I track down the holy hay to the edge of a copse where someone long ago chucked some sainfoin seeds down for their cows, not knowing that 300 years later we would value the flowers like rare jewels, a living vernacular treasure.”
“The sainfoin became an emblem of those traditional flower-rich hay meadows which once covered much of this landscape.”
“The scribbled note on the back said it was sainfoin.”
“As a fodder crop, sainfoin was so nourishing to cattle it was called "holy hay" – "sain" meaning sound or healthy and "foin" meaning hay.”
“Then there were scattered groups of the rugged ilex, with its pale green leaves silvered by the moonbeams; and, where the land was cultivated, there was the livelier green of the young wheat, and the dark verdure of luxuriant crops of sainfoin: scarcely a house was passed; a solitary habitation is”
“Heaths, or places abounding in wild flowers, constitute the best neighbourhood for an apiary, and in default of this pasturage, there should be gardens where flowers are cultivated, and fields in which buck-wheat, clover, or sainfoin, is sown.”
“There are occasional fields of sainfoin and of turnips; but these latter are small, and no ridging or hurdling is yet practised.”
“Champs, near Meaux, in lucerne, sainfoin, and clover, with the object of producing a famine.”
“A brace of partridges rose out of the sainfoin, and flew down the hills; and watching their curving flight”
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