Onobrychis viciifolia - Scop.
Common Sainfoin
Other English Common Names: Sainfoin
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Onobrychis viciifolia Scop. (TSN 26810)
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.151085
Element Code: PDFAB2S010
Informal Taxonomy: Plants, Vascular - Flowering Plants - Pea Family
 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Plantae Anthophyta Dicotyledoneae Fabales Fabaceae Onobrychis
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Concept Reference
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Concept Reference: Kartesz, J.T. 1994. A synonymized checklist of the vascular flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland. 2nd edition. 2 vols. Timber Press, Portland, OR.
Concept Reference Code: B94KAR01HQUS
Name Used in Concept Reference: Onobrychis viciifolia
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: GNR
Global Status Last Changed: 22Mar1994
Rounded Global Status: GNR - Not Yet Ranked
Nation: United States
National Status: NNA
Nation: Canada
National Status: NNA (13Oct2016)

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
United States California (SNA), Colorado (SNA), Idaho (SNA), Illinois (SNA), Massachusetts (SNR), Minnesota (SNA), Missouri (SNA), Montana (SNA), Nevada (SNA), New Jersey (SNA), New Mexico (SNA), New York (SNA), Oregon (SNA), South Dakota (SNA), Utah (SNA), Vermont (SNA), Washington (SNA), West Virginia (SNA), Wyoming (SNA)
Canada Alberta (SNA), British Columbia (SNA), Manitoba (SNA), Ontario (SNA), Quebec (SNA), Saskatchewan (SNA), Yukon Territory (SNA)

Other Statuses

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Distribution
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U.S. States and Canadian Provinces
Color legend for Distribution Map
NOTE: The distribution shown may be incomplete, particularly for some rapidly spreading exotic species.

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States CAexotic, COexotic, IDexotic, ILexotic, MA, MNexotic, MOexotic, MTexotic, NJexotic, NMexotic, NVexotic, NYexotic, ORexotic, SDexotic, UTexotic, VTexotic, WAexotic, WVexotic, WYexotic
Canada ABexotic, BCexotic, MBexotic, ONexotic, QCexotic, SKexotic, YTexotic

Range Map
No map available.

Ecology & Life History Not yet assessed
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Economic Attributes Not yet assessed
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Management Summary Not yet assessed
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Population/Occurrence Delineation Not yet assessed
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Population/Occurrence Viability
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U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank)
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Disclaimer: While I-Rank information is available over NatureServe Explorer, NatureServe is not actively developing or maintaining these data. Species with I-RANKs do not represent a random sample of species exotic in the United States; available assessments may be biased toward those species with higher-than-average impact.

I-Rank: Insignificant
Rounded I-Rank: Insignificant
I-Rank Reasons Summary: Onobrychis viciifolia, or Sainfoin, is a species commonly grown for forage and is preferred over other plants by animals, including alfalfa, because it doesn't cause bloating. This species has escaped cultivation in nearly all western state, several states in the midwest and some states in the eastern United States. No explicit information was found indicating that this species has invaded natural habitats in the United States; given the number of states where this species is reported from outside cultivation it can be presumed that the impact of this species has been insignificant. This species has, however, invaded natural areas in at least one province in Canada, namely Alberta. In Alberta, Sainfoin, has invaded and is considered persistent in foothills grasslands and boreal forests. The seeds of this species are dispersed by birds and rodents, and probably by the other animals that consume the plant for food. More information is needed in order to a 1) determine if this species has spread into natural areas in the United States and 2) asses its behavior as an non-native.
I-Rank Review Date: 23Mar2005
Evaluator: Oliver, L.
Native anywhere in the U.S?
Native Range: Onobrychis viciifolia is native to Europe (Isley 1998).

Download "An Invasive Species Assessment Protocol: Evaluating Non-Native Plants for their Impact on Biodiversity". (PDF, 1.03MB)
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Screening Questions

S-1. Established outside cultivation as a non-native? YES
Comments: This species is present outside cultivation in nearly every western state and several western provinces in Canada (Kartesz 1999).

S-2. Present in conservation areas or other native species habitat? Unknown
Comments: No direct statements were found indicating that this species has spread into natural habitats in the United States. It is widely planted for forage, and in Alberta it 'expands readily beyond bounds of cultivation, anf from hay spills, persistent' (APNC 2000), so it is entirely plausible that this species has invaded natural areas in the United States, however, it is not clear if this has been documented.

1. Impact on Ecosystem Processes and System-wide Parameters:High/Low significance
Comments: While it is not clear if this species has spread into natural areas in the United States, it has escaped from cultivation (Kartesz 1999) and does posses qualities that would allow it to alter ecosystem processes. Onobrychis viciifolia is a member of the Fabaceae, the Pea family, and is capable of fixing nitrogen, so it can increase the nitrogen levels in the soil (Plants for a Future).

2. Impact on Ecological Community Structure:Medium/Low significance
Comments: If this species were documented in natural habitats it could affect at least one vegetation layer, since it grows 60-80cm high (NRCS 2002).

3. Impact on Ecological Community Composition:Unknown

4. Impact on Individual Native Plant or Animal Species:Unknown

5. Conservation Significance of the Communities and Native Species Threatened:Unknown

6. Current Range Size in Nation:High significance
Comments: Sainfoin has escaped from cultivation in nearly every western state, many states in the midwest and several states in the northeastern United States (Kartesz 1999).

7. Proportion of Current Range Where the Species is Negatively Impacting Biodiversity:Unknown

8. Proportion of Nation's Biogeographic Units Invaded:Moderate significance
Comments: Known to be adapted in the Pacific Northwest, Northern Rocky Mountains, Northern Great Plains, and the Northern Great Basin (NRCS 2002). This species is also known from other biogeographic regions in the midwest and eastern United States (Kartesz 1999).

9. Diversity of Habitats or Ecological Systems Invaded in Nation:Unknown

10. Current Trend in Total Range within Nation:Unknown

11. Proportion of Potential Range Currently Occupied:Unknown

12. Long-distance Dispersal Potential within Nation:High/Moderate significance
Comments: Sainfoin is grown commonly as forage and is preferred by cattle, sheep, deer and elk (NRCS 2000). Any of these animals could spread the seeds. Also, the seeds are known to be consumed by birds and rodents (NRCS 2000), both of which could easily disperse the seeds a far distance.

13. Local Range Expansion or Change in Abundance:Unknown

14. Inherent Ability to Invade Conservation Areas and Other Native Species Habitats:Unknown
Comments: Sainfoin is reported as persistent in foothills grassland and boreal forest in Alberta, Canada (Sustainable Resource Development in Alberta 2000).

16. Reproductive Characteristics:Unknown
Comments: The seeds of this species germinate quickly once moisture is available, however, the seed must also be inoculated by rhizobium in order to germinate (NRCS 2000).

17. General Management Difficulty:Unknown

18. Minimum Time Commitment:Unknown

19. Impacts of Management on Native Species:Unknown

20. Accessibility of Invaded Areas:Unknown
Authors/Contributors
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Botanical data developed by NatureServe and its network of natural heritage programs (see Local Programs), The North Carolina Botanical Garden, and other contributors and cooperators (see Sources).

References
Help
  • Alberta Native Plant Council (ANPC). 2000. A Rogue's Gallery of Invasive Non-native Plants. Edmonton, AB.

  • Isely, D. 1998. Native and naturalized Leguminosae (Fabaceae) of the United States (exclusive of Alaska and Hawaii). Monte L. Bean Life Science Museum, Brigham Young University; MLBM Press, Provo, Utah. 1007 pp.

  • Kartesz, J.T. 1994. A synonymized checklist of the vascular flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland. 2nd edition. 2 vols. Timber Press, Portland, OR.

  • Kartesz, J.T. 1996. Species distribution data at state and province level for vascular plant taxa of the United States, Canada, and Greenland (accepted records), from unpublished data files at the North Carolina Botanical Garden, December, 1996.

  • Kartesz, J.T. 1999. A synonymized checklist and atlas with biological attributes for the vascular flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland. First edition. In: Kartesz, J.T., and C.A. Meacham. Synthesis of the North American Flora, Version 1.0. North Carolina Botanical Garden, Chapel Hill, N.C.

  • Sustainable Resource Development. Native Plant Revegetation Guidelines- Appendix E. Alberta Government. Online at http://www3.gov.ab.ca/srd/land/m_li_nativeplant_appendixe.html.

  • USDA NRCS. 2002. Plant Fact Sheet on Onobrychis viciifolia Scop. PLANTS database. Online at http://plants.usda.gov. Accessed March 23, 2005.

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