Onobrychis viciifolia

Tracheophyta MagnoliopsidaFabaceaeOnobrychisOnobrychis viciifolia


A perennial herb which occurs in a dwarf form in unimproved chalk grassland. Robust alien variants are found on grassy banks, roadsides and by tracks on chalk and less often on other calcareous soils. They can be abundant on newly sown roadsides. Generally lowland, reaching 335 m near Taddington (Derbys.).



World Distribution

Eurosiberian Temperate element; widely naturalised outside its native range.

© P. Shannon

Broad Habitats

Calcareous grassland (includes lowland and montane types)

Light (Ellenberg): 7

Moisture (Ellenberg): 4

Reaction (Ellenberg): 8

Nitrogen (Ellenberg): 3


Salt Tolerance (Ellenberg): 0

January Mean Temperature (Celsius): 3.6

July Mean Temperature (Celsius): 16.2

Annual Precipitation (mm): 710

Life form information

Height (cm): 60

Perennation - primary


Life Form - primary




Clonality - primary

Little or no vegetative spread

Distribution information

Count of 10km squares in Great Britain: 265

Count of 10km squares in Ireland: 0

Count of 10km squares in the Channel Isles: 0

Atlas Change Index: -0.76

Weighted Changed Factor: 0

Weighted Change Factor Confidence (90%)


Distribution information

JNCC Designations


PLANTATT - Attributes of British and Irish plants. (.zip 1455KB) This dataset was compiled and published in 2004, and last updated in November 2008. Download includes an Excel spreadsheet of the attributes, and a PDF explaining the background and nomenclature. Note that the PDF version is the booklet as published, whereas the Excel spreadsheet incorporates subsequent corrections. A hardcopy can be purchased from the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology.

Atlas text references

Atlas (113c)
Fearn GM
1987.  Exploited plants. Sainfoin. Biologist. 34:93-97.
Salisbury EJ
1964.  Weeds & Aliens, edn 2.