Geographical distribution: It is indigenous to all Europe, except the most northern parts, southwestern Asia and northern Africa.
Habitat: It grows naturally in dry pastures, along roads and paths, on hills and mountains and in open woods.
Cultural conditions: Kidney Vetch makes a good stand on sandy or gravelly soil too poor for most leguminous plants. It reaches its highest perfection on land rich in lime. It bears extreme drought without injury and is little affected by alternate freezing and thawing.
Agricultural value: In some parts of Europe. where the soil is too poor for Red Clover, Kidney Vetch is quite valuable. It is used for both hay and pasture and is relished by stock. The yield, however, is rather low. Its suitability for Canada is not known.
SAINFOIN (Onobrychis sativa Lam.) Plate 23; Seed, Plate 27, Fig. 37. Other English name: Esparsette.
Botanical description: Sainfoin is perennial with a vigorous taproot which becomes rather woody and much branched. The stems are numerous, erect or ascending, and reach a height of from one to two feet. The leaves are compound and generally consist of a great number of leaflets, which, with the exception of the terminal odd one, are in pairs along the midrib. The flowers are in a rich, spike-like inflorescence which gradually becomes long and thin. The flowers, which are very showy, are pink with darker veins. They are rich in honey and allow the ordinary honey bee and other insects to reach the bottom of the tube where the nectar is stored.
Geographical distribution: Sainfoin is indigenous to temperate Europe, from the Baltic in the north to the Mediterranean in the south, from the Atlantic in the west to the border of Asia in the east. It is also a native of southern Asia.
History: Sainfoin has been cultivated in France for more than four hundred years, whence its cultivation spread to other European countries, especially Italy, England, Switzerland and Germany,