Sainfoin on field edge, Wessex Ridgeway, Dorset
Flowers - front and side views
French-grass, Cock's Head
June to September
Native Sainfoin is found in the South.
Non-native fodder Sainfoin is more widespread, but is uncommon
in the North and the far Southwest.
For a map see the National Biodiversity Network Gateway
Native Sainfoin grows in undisturbed chalk grassland.
Non-native Sainfoin is a neophyte which was introduced as
a fodder crop in the 1600s and grown until the 1800s.
It can be a constituent of wildflower seed and is planted in field
Escapes and relic plants are naturalised on grassy banks
Sainfoin is a nitrogen-fixing, perennial herb growing in 2 forms.
Native Sainfoin is short and almost prostrate.
Fodder Sainfoin (shown here) is more robust and erect, and
grows up to 60cm.
Flowers are in pyramid-shaped, spikes.
Each flower is up to 14mm and is pink with red stripes.
The pods are round, crinkly and hairy and up to 8mm.
They contain only one seed.
Leaves are made up of up to 12 pairs of leaflets.
Leaflets are up to 3cm.
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