One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A pink-flowered plant of the pea family, which is native to Asia and grown widely for fodder.
Onobrychis viciifolia, family Leguminosae
- ‘In August, open areas can be planted with perennial cover crops such as clover or sainfoin, sometimes called esparcet or holy clover.’
- ‘Alongside the orchids other wild flowers such as yellow-wort, sainfoin and stemless thistle grow in abundance.’
- ‘Only in Flanders and a few contiguous districts was grain rotated with soil-restoring fodder crops, such as clover, lucerne, and sainfoin, and fallow thus eliminated.’
- ‘Conversion of common land to enclosures made possible new practices: creating water meadows and growing new crops such as sainfoin and lucerne to augment supplies of animal winter fodder.’
Mid 17th century: from obsolete French saintfoin, from modern Latin sanum foenum ‘wholesome hay’ (with reference to its medicinal properties).
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