Onobrychis arenaria

A medium-sized perennial, blooms with beautiful pink flowers. The Onobrychis arenaria is an endangered species in Poland. It provides bees with both pollen and nectar, and its productivity increases with age.

Wild, non-cultivar seeds.

SKU: N077

6,00 14,00 

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About the species

Polish name: sand sainfoin

Latin name: Onobrychis arenaria DC.

Family: legumes Fabaceae (the bean family Papilionaceae)

Status in Poland: native to the south and east Poland, quite rare The plant placed on the Polish red list under the DD category.

perennial plant
Flower color:
about 40 cm


Small to medium-sized, durable species (perennial) with shaggy shoots, pale pink flowers and spiked pods. It is distinguished from more popular species common sainfoin Onobrychis viciifolia by narrower leaves and inflorescences, and shorter, single flowers.

Wild specimens live about 30-40 years, cultivated usually 6-7 years. It develops an extensive root system, overgrowing the soil even up to 2.7 m deep, with a strongly developed taproot and adventitious roots. The noduled roots are typical for the genus and the family, and are also distinguished by a yellowish color. The Onobrychis arenaria develops green stems with a grooved, flattened surface cross-section.

The leaves are imparipinnate composed by four to fourteen opposite pairs of entire-margined leaflets, 1.5-8 mm wide, with fused, squamate bracts. The surface of the leaves is bare, the underside is slightly tomentosed. The inflorescences in the form of dense, narrow (at most 20 mm wide and 140-200 mm long) fusiform racemes.

The flowers typical of the genus and family, papilionaceous, with a five-sepaled, slightly tomentosed calyx and pale pink, clearly veined corolla, with membranous, lanceolate bracts. The upper petal of the corolla, with the edges bent backwards, forms a banner. The other two side petals cover the lower petal, the pistil and the stamens, forming a pale pink keel with darker, purple or maroon stripes. Nine stamens fuse together to form a tube, and the tenth remains free. The pistil is characterized by a thread-like style and a head-shaped stigma.

The fruit will be a single-seed, semicircular pod, 4-6 mm in diameter, slightly hairy on the surface, with 4 or 5 prominent, subulate spikes on the sides. The spikes measure 0.5-2 mm. It contains only one seed, and when ripe it does not burst, but falls as a whole. The seeds of this species are strongly dormant, elongated (1.5-2.0 by 2.5-3.0 mm in length), and brown.

Additional information


Onobrychis arenaria grows best on calcium-rich black earths. It also grows well on chestnut, lime, loess, clay soils, and even sandy and heavily washed-out soils (hence the species name). It prefers very light positions with a moderately dry or very dry ground.

Interesting facts

Onobrychis arenaria in Poland is connected with the relict habitats of the so-called xerothermic grasslands, i.e. very dry and warm meadows and pastures, abundant in steppe species.

Onobrychis arenaria in seed mixtures:

Use Value

Onobrychis arenaria provides the bees with both pollen and nectar. Honey yield depends on the age of the plants, for example, in the second year after sowing it provides about 60 kg of nectar and 26.3 kg of pollen, and in the third year – 300 kg of nectar and about 130 kg of pollen per hectare of plantation. Russian beekeepers either sow it separately, or together with short-flowered clovers and medicks.

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