Is is a topical medication for the tender spot on your leg?
Is it an incantation that summons a miniature man in a little green robe, looking confused?
Is it a social mistake that makes girls instantly turn away from you?
No- it's a plant.
A very pretty little plant. Medium-size, maybe. Two feet.
Sainfoin- we shall call it Onobrychis viciifolia. And that "scientific" name means
And by that, probaby meaning "Chowed-down-upon by donkeys."
It took me a while to identify, because it was overlooked in Colorado Flora: Western Slope, meant to identify any plants which occur here. But it was in Intermountain Flora. The wierd seeds proved that it was not a normal pea-family local.
I first saw it last year in a barren lot around Grand Junction's now long-empty institution I remember as a kid: "Gator's Restaurant" on the Southeast corner of the I-70 Business loop and 30 Roads.
A Bubblegum-pink bushy thing waved at me, blooming for a long time in a truly crisp vacant lot.
Ferengi-style seedpods of the Sainfoin. (Don't feel bad missing a Star-Trek reference)
It's not rare, and it's not native. It's a dryland-asian (Like all the good forage crops) used by rangeland managers in the same manner as its similarly-shaped relative: Alfalfa, Medicago sativa. (Also Asian and dry-growing)
What intrests me about it is this:
1. It's beautiful. Look at those striped banners. They are literally, botanically called banners.
2. It's tougher than heck. Look where it's growing.
3. It seems to rebloom or bloom for a long time.
But, it could be a weed in a cultivated setting. Does anyone know? Hard to know for sure when it's not even in our local floristic books. Stay tuned, for this baby's going to get trialed as a showy landscape plant for the inirrigated landscape.
I'm not below growing something as common as alfalfa when it's this good.