from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- n. A Eurasian plant (Onobrychis viciifolia) having pinnately compound leaves and pink or white flowers, often grown as a forage crop.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- n. A perennial herb of the genus Onobrychis with pale pink flowers, especially Onobrychis sativa.
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- n. A leguminous plant (Onobrychis sativa) cultivated for fodder.
- n. A kind of tick trefoil (Desmodium Canadense).
from The 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.
from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
- 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
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